High-ops tempo produces character, persistence

  • Published
  • By Maj. Shawn Campbell
  • 62nd Services Squadron commander
I came across a "Dear Boss" letter that caught my attention. The author, an Air Force captain, wrote to the then Tactical Air Command Commander, Gen. Wilbur Creech.

The captain wrote, "Well, I quit. I've finally run out of drive or devotion or rationalizations or whatever it was that kept me in the Air Force this long. Why leave flying fighters and a promising career? Funny you should ask -- mainly I'm resigning because I'm tired. Ten years and 2,000 hours in a great fighter, and all the time I'm doing more with less."

Sound familiar? The content is timeless and could have been written just this past week. 

It might surprise you to learn that letter was written nearly 30 years ago.

In light of this, I'd like to hit on three "P's": perspective, perseverance and potential.

Perspective is the light in which we see things. We're tired and rightly so. McChord has executed more than 1,800 continuous days of combat airlift. Each member of Team McChord, military, civilian and family shares that burden.

Winston Churchill had the right perspective when he said, "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Proper perspective affords clarity in terms of the rightness and necessity of winning the Global War on Terror. Understanding that builds into my second "P", perseverance.

Remember that "Dear Boss" letter? It's a great thing that captain chose not to leave "his" Air Force because he is a widely respected senior leader today. That captain is Gen. Ronald Keys, the current commander of Air Combat Command.

He persevered. He committed himself to applying his talents and abilities to making the Air Force a much better organization -- more lethal, more precise and more focused on taking care of people.

In his book, Sierra Hotel, retired Air Force Col. C.R. Anderegg reveals what General Keys, Gen. John Jumper and Lt. Gen. Tim Kinnan did as captains to shape the Air Force we all now serve.

All three modeled that selfless devotion to duty that compels us to persevere in our commitment to service.

Each of us possesses talents, abilities, intelligence and skills. 

The resulting synergy of all those is potential. We each have the unlimited and often untapped capacity to lead. 

I encourage you to view our current high ops tempo through the lens of proper 
perspective, persevere in the effort and fulfill your full potential. 

We're counting on you.