Rise to the Challenge

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Terry White
  • 509th Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight Chief
Challenge yourself! I don't remember it, but I am sure that I had butterflies in my stomach the first time I let loose of my mother's hand and tried to take those first few steps by myself.

I do remember the butterflies I had in my stomach the first time each of my daughters, Julia and Sarah let loose of my hand and took their first few steps by themselves.

Throughout our lives we are put in situations that require us to step out of our comfortable place. First steps, first day in school, first football game and first time behind the wheel of a car are all examples of times most of us had the butterflies in our stomachs.

If you are in the Air Force today, it is likely that the butterflies didn't deter you from doing those things. The expectation of getting there on your own or winning the game was enough to push you past the butterflies.

In today's Air Force, we are constantly challenged to do more than we have done in the past. We have accepted the duties formerly assigned to the "702, Technical Administration Specialist." We have taken on the role of education center employee, military personnel flight customer service technician, finance officer, orderly room specialist and a myriad of other tasks that the computer and the internet have made more efficient and put at our fingertips.

As the Air Force scales down its personnel in favor of recapitalizing our weapons systems, those of us who are left need to step up and move outside our comfort zone. Those Airmen who are willing and able to take on tasks, duties and responsibilities that they are not comfortable with will be the leaders in tomorrow's Air Force. Anyone can volunteer for and be successful at those things with which they are familiar.

Millions of Americans do what is familiar every day. Thousands of Air Force personnel step forward, raise their hands and willingly take on more responsibility, more work and work outside their normal career path.

I encourage all of you to go on a butterfly hunt. Look for and act on opportunities to do something you haven't done before. The Air Force provides opportunities for all personnel to push their limits and grow.

Volunteer to organize the next squadron picnic, run for president of the booster club, become the expert or the go-to person on the task nobody wants to do, apply to serve as first sergeant, recruiter or career field manager.

If you feel the butterflies in your stomach as you are considering your next move, take a deep breath, realize that the Air Force has prepared you to excel even where you have no experience and take that step out of your comfort zone.

We have set you up for success and your success is our success. Thankfully, we have no shortage of great Air Force warriors at Whiteman Air Force Base. As I hit the three week point in my assignment to Whiteman, I couldn't be happier with the way things are going.

Every person I meet is enthusiastic, energetic and poised to take the next step to make our wing better, faster, smarter and less expensive. I am way outside my comfort zone.
I am a humble avionics guy tossed into the fast moving world of B-2 Bomber technology. Before Dec 23, 2007 low observable meant I wasn't wearing all of my motorcycle riding gear.

I have butterflies every time I go to a meeting and realize that I know less than the Senior Airman sitting next to me about the weapons system we are tasked to employ. The butterflies go away quickly when I realize that the Senior Airman has my back.

It is comforting to me as a Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force and as an American, to know that that Senior Airman is smarter, more educated, better trained and more capable than most of the world's population, and he has my back.

With people like ours, it is easy to step outside your comfort zone. Take that step today. We, the Airman Basic through Chief Master Sergeant, have your back.