Investing in the future: Airmen’s time away nets huge return

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. David Thompson
  • 62nd Medical Group superintendent

When looking into financial investments, one component of concern is the return rate.  Every investor asks themselves the same questions: How much am I going to make on this investment?  What will I get in return?

This concept also carries over into other facets of life, including the military. As supervisors and leaders, when you provide an Airman to serve with the Honor Guard, send someone to professional military education or send a member on a deployment, ask yourself, "What return will I get on my investment?"

Does it cost the unit to send a member to Honor Guard, PME or on a deployment? Sure, but the potential return on this investment is much greater than one could ever imagine.

Every Airman who has returned to his or her unit following a successful rotation with the Honor Guard has returned with a new found appreciation for customs and military honors their teams provided. They stand a little taller and walk with a new sense of pride. I truly believe this attitude is reflected in how they perform their primary mission when back in the unit. 

When our enlisted members return to the work center following five or six weeks of PME, these members are usually the most energetic, professional men and women in the unit at that moment. We spend a great deal of time and effort training our members on communication, profession of arms and leadership. We should seek to capitalize on what they've learned.

The same goes for those members returning from deployment. Sure they are excited about returning to their families, but they also bring back experiences that can only be obtained in the deployed setting. This new or renewed understanding of what we are doing and why is usually much clearer following a deployment. Again, we need to tap this experience and find ways to share with the other members of the unit.

Seek ways to utilize this new resource. If you are the Honor Guard member, the recent graduate of PME or just returning from a deployment, then you have an obligation to provide that return. 

Your supervisors, co-workers and commanders have entrusted you with the ability and opportunity to gain this experience. Now what are you going to give in return?