HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Would you put your name on it

Master Sgt. Allen Rigdon
14th Operations Group First Sergeant

Master Sgt. Allen Rigdon 14th Operations Group First Sergeant

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- "I, ..., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;...." We have all spoken these words at least once in our military careers. We have put our names on the dotted line and freely volunteered in making this statement and promised to adhere to them throughout our entire military career. The two key elements in these words are your name and your willingness to be a volunteer. Let us address your name first.
Every organization aspires to succeed and be profitable, making money is what it's all about. They have a product, a skill, a service, something to sell. A majority of the organizations will put their name on the product and will do whatever it takes to be successful. They think of slogans and commercials, so people will remember their product and their name. A great deal of care is taken to prevent the tarnishing of their company with bad publicity or terrible service; they want to present a positive image and want people to remember who they are through that positive image. Look around while driving through neighborhoods. Look at the houses--the homeowners usually put their name on the front of their homes. Look at the yards. What impression do you get? Does the yard need work--raked, mowed or edged and trimmed? Perhaps it is a well-manicured yard and looks sharp. However, what about those who live in on-base housing? Think about it, your name is on the front of the house. What message are you sending?
You can say almost the same about all standards, including uniform standards. Military uniforms are required to be neat, clean, pressed and must present a proper military image. Look above the right pocket, it has your name on it. Now, let us take a quick look at volunteering.
Merriam-Webster defines a volunteer as "a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service." Many of us volunteer with many different agencies and organizations, and we do so willingly. When arriving at the job site we donate our services and skills, follow the guidance and suggestions of our leaders and on occasion, offer insight and direction when needed. I have been to many locations where there are those who have gone beyond the call of their duties to make a difference. Let us go back to the oath of office cited earlier, the very same oath that we all recited as we raised our hands and willingly joined the Air Force. There was no one standing behind you with a gun, poking and prodding you to join up. We all did so freely and without coercion or reservation--we volunteered.
Last year, I had the pleasure of hearing General William Looney, Air Education and Training Command Commander, speak while I was attending a First Sergeant's seminar. He made a statement that really struck me and has stuck with me ever since. He said, "...you volunteered to join our Air Force, and by volunteering, you also volunteered to follow and obey our policies and instructions." We are all volunteers and each of us freely committed ourselves to the United States Air Force by signing our name on the line. Remember, your name is on the contract, your name is on the front of your house and your name is on your uniform. We need to all try to remember that we are professionals as we go through our daily routines. I personally thank you for serving and continuing to be a dedicated volunteer by keeping your promises to our great Air Force.