Are you an Air Force worrier or Air Force warrior?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jose M. Gonzalez
  • 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
According to the Merriam-Webster's dictionary...

Worrier - one who feels or experiences concern or anxiety; inclined to worry or fret.

Warrior - a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill.

With these definitions in mind, I would like to address certain issues impacting us today. The U.S. Air Force is not only going through cyclical changes, but also some dramatic and historic ones as well. Examples of this include training, force-shaping and physical fitness."

While these touchy subjects make for interesting water cooler discussions, it's important to note that two different mindsets take hold regarding these issues. So which one are you, the Air Force worrier or the Air Force warrior?

In regard to training, the Air Force worrier sees it as redundant and unnecessary, often complaining openly and failing to meet the suspense many times. This causes others to fill in for them on temporary duties and sometimes even deployments.

The Air Force warrior understands even if training is a simple computer-based module, the training is to keep skills sharp. They understand training at times is mandatory but they do what they can and strive for continuous growth and development. They push for others to comply with training in a timely manner and voice the necessity of not letting skill-sets dull. They set the example by being fully-trained and qualified to enhance deployment readiness.

In regards to force-shaping, the worrier sees it as the proverbial "doing more with less" mentality. They do nothing to prepare for the loss of personnel and when deadlines are not met, simply use the excuses of either they didn't have enough time or not enough people to get the job done. On their soapbox they depict the "good 'ole days" when there was more than enough people to go around and get the job done.

The Air Force warrior sees force-shaping as a strategic necessity decided by leadership who see a bigger picture than others can. The warrior sees this as an opportunity in "doing more with less drama." Examples of this include less overdue training, less disciplinary issues, less alcohol and drug issues and zero suicides. Every person must count and make a positive difference in a unit. The warrior takes steps to clarify and re-assign duties in an effort to prepare for the loss of personnel. If their unit is privileged and actually receives extra people, they are resourceful, effective and efficient with them.

In regards to physical fitness, the Air Force worrier loathes the exertion needed for a workout. They see it as a distant second to the mission. They don't participate in unit fitness programs and worry more about themselves failing than helping those who have failed. They consume great quantities of expensive energy drinks and foods high in cholesterol, fat and sugar. As the assessment date draws near, they stress and find every excuse under the sun to not take the test. When they do fail, sometimes repeatedly, they don't see it as their fault, but of the assessor not counting all their push-ups or sit-ups. Nervousness and tension eat at them in how their career will be impacted. They project to others that the Air Force cares more about physical fitness than about the mission.

The Air Force warrior works out at least three times a week. They eat healthy, drink plenty of water and limit calorie intake. They lead unit physical training and help those who struggle. When scheduled for the assessment they are ready for it and have sought medical intervention as needed and in a timely manner. If they pass, they don't revert to negative health habits. If they fail, they understand the repercussions, but look forward to prove the failure was simply a fluke. They will re-accomplish the assessment and pass prior to performance report close-out so as to not impact their career.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion or stance on the Air Force topics of training, force-shaping and physical fitness. Many Air Force members may not see themselves as warriors in the traditional sense, but there is no reason we can't be warriors in spirit and in our daily thoughts and actions. All I ask is to reach deep down inside and ask yourself regarding these matters if you are an Air Force worrier or an Air Force warrior?