Pursuing excellence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Diana M. Cossaboom
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for the continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward vector of accomplishment and performance," according to Air Force Instruction 1-1.3. "Our core values define our standards of conduct. Our standards of conduct define how Airmen should behave when interacting with others and when confronting challenges in the environment in which we live and work."

On Aug. 4, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, challenged Airmen not to settle for mediocre performance, but to be a better professional, supervisor, commander, and Airman.

Welsh'sĀ appeal was in response to an email from Airman 1st Class Devin Nothstine, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs broadcast journalist, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, who asked him to challenge all Airmen to pursue excellence.

"Devin asked me to challenge you to be better than you think you can be," said Welsh. "I think that's a fantastic approach to our mission as the United States Air Force."

As part of a recent effort to facilitate communication among Airmen, Welsh began a video initiative on AFBlueTube. It was through this video series, Airman to Airman that Welsh shared Nothstine's challenge.

During the video, Welsh tasked Airmen to do their job better than it's ever been done before, and that excellence starts by continuously improving upon past Airmen's efforts and learning from their mistakes.

Airman must strive for excellence ceaselessly, regardless of who is watching.

"We're Airman 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year, in and out of uniform, in and out of your duty section, you are being analyzed," said Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Hendricks, 20th Comptroller Squadron superintendent. "We stand out, whether in uniform or not. We have to be good Airmen and we have to be good neighbors."

Excellence can be contagious, but so can mediocrity, said Hendricks. One Airman can settle for mediocrity and influence his or her peers to follow suit. On the other hand, if one Airman embodies excellence, it can inspire others to work harder and be better.

"You need that internal drive to keep you going, that keeps you motivated, that wants to do good, that's going to see things through even when the times get tough," said Hendricks. "A drive will enlighten and inspire others."

Staff Sgt. Rachelle Nielsen, 20th Aerospace Medical Squadron aerospace and operational physiology NCO in-charge of administration, says that one way she tries to encourage her Airmen to excel, is to provide a solid example.

"For me to improve myself, I feel like then I can improve other people," said Nielson. "I just want to be a good supervisor, a good mentor and I can't do that without being excellent myself. I want to keep improving because I want other people to improve, too."

You gain a sense of self-worth, whether you get a pat on the back or not, said Hendricks. As an NCO, it is equally important to be excellent as it is to help the Airmen recognize they have excellence.

To excel as an Air Force, Welsh is calling all Airmen to continuously improve themselves and encourage their peers to do the same.

"Be a better person," said Welsh. "Be a better Airman, and make us a better Air Force. That's what our job is all about."