Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oregon's newest Wing Command Chief vows to "earn" his legacy

(Left) Chief Master Sgt. Max White, is the newest Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant for the Oregon Air National Guard.

A phrase that you've probably heard uttered by numerous Air Force leaders is, "People are our most valuable asset." This statement is very true. It isn't the aircraft or the weapon systems that accomplish a mission -- it's the people.

Each person has a tremendous amount to offer to the Air Force, but if they are weighted down by the barrier of disrespect, they cannot reach their full potential. Respecting each other regardless of differences and recognizing the valuable role each member of our military family plays are imperative.

As John Maxwell, author of numerous books on leadership, said, “It’s been said that there are two kinds of people in life: those who make things happen and those who wonder what happened. Leaders have the ability to make things happen. People who don’t know how to make things happen for themselves won’t know how to make things happen for others.”

He went on, “What you do with the future means the difference between leaving a track record and leaving a legacy.” Legacies aren’t just wishful thinking. They’re the result of determined doing. The legacy you leave is the life you lead. You just never know whose life you might touch. What you do know is that you can make a difference. You can leave this world better than you found it.

A legacy comes from the idea that everyone, regardless of rank or position, can make a difference. Legacies encompass the past, present and future, and force us to consider where we have been, where we are now and where we’re going. A quest to leave a lasting legacy is a journey from success to significance.

By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. By living each day as if we matter, we offer up our own unique legacy. By offering up our own unique legacy, we make the world we inhabit a better place than we found it.

When we choose to lead every day, we choose aspirations of long-term significance over short-term measures of success. It takes courage to lead. It takes courage to make a life. Courage, like leadership, is a choice.

Above all, our legacy is defined in how we defend America. We do this by dominating air, space, and cyberspace. It is part of our warrior ethos -focused culture, conviction, character, ethic, mindset, spirit, and soul we foster in all Airmen. It's the pride in our heritage, the recognition that our Nation depends on us to dominate air, space and cyberspace, and our willing acceptance of the burden of those immense responsibilities.

It is our distinctive contribution that reflects my commitment to leaving the Air National Guard better each day because I am here! I will “Earn this”!

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