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Strive To Be ‘THIS Guy’

  • Published
  • By Col. John Gordy II
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Vice Commander
Before I get started with my main points, let me say thank you on behalf of my family to all of Team Pope for a tremendous welcome and to everyone who helped make this a smooth transition for me and my wife Bernie and our children Meghan and John. Driving through the Reilly gate for the first time after six years brought back a lot of good memories, and hearing the noise of the flightline was much better than the sounds of Washington, D.C. We are all very excited to be back at Pope and near so many dedicated professionals. The base looks outstanding and the people are just as I remember: dedicated, hard-working, and friendly. Pope has never looked better! 

Now, for my main points. When I sat down to think about what to write, I wanted to be careful not to repeat anything anyone else has said over the past few months and to come up with something that would give one reason to reflect. I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to approach a topic until just the other day when I was walking through one of the squadrons and saw a "Don't be THAT Guy" coaster on a table. While this is a tremendous campaign and one that I fully support, it made me think 'OK, I don't want people to be THAT guy, so what kind of guy do I want people to be?' So, I added a new twist to the catch phrase; "Don't be THAT guy ... be THIS guy!" Who do I think THIS guy is? Let me explain. 

THIS guy is the Airman who sets the standard for his peers and subordinates. He leads by example and with his actions. THIS guy is an expert in his career field and knows the regulations inside and out and can almost quote them paragraph by paragraph. If he is a young airman or lieutenant, his main goal is to focus his energy on learning his craft and becoming the best airman or lieutenant in the unit. This is how he builds the credibility needed later to become a respected NCO and mid-level officer. 

If he is an NCO or mid-level officer, THIS guy is the one who doesn't cut corners, understands the vision of his commanders and can motivate his troops to accomplish the mission safely and by the book. His first response to a challenging task is not to say no we can't, but instead to look for ways we can. He understands the need to delegate in order to let his troops grow but is always there to offer top cover and prevent failure. 

THIS guy is the Airman who wears the uniform correctly and with respect. He understands that a dirty uniform isn't a sign of how hard you work, but rather a sign of neglect. 

He remembers all of the customs and courtesies he learned at Basic Military Training or through his commissioning source and treats both superiors and subordinates with dignity and respect because he knows that he can't be successful without the help of those around him. 

THIS guy takes pride in everything he does. No matter what is asked of him, he does it to the best of his ability. He strives to get it right the first time and not leave a job unfinished for the next person. THIS guy is the one who lives in privatized base housing and although his yard can get mowed by contractors, he still takes the time to weed the flower beds and trim those areas the contractors miss or can't mow. He remembers that he lives on an Air Force base and that no matter who owns the house, it is only right to ensure his yard looks the best it can for both himself and his neighbors. 

THIS guy is the one who learns from his mistakes and takes the time to share them with his subordinates and peers so they don't make the same ones. He realizes the future of the Air Force is not in his hands but those who will follow him. He takes every opportunity to mentor and lead. But when called upon to follow, he does so without hesitation and stands ready to support. 

THIS guy understands the importance of education, not just to fill a square but to make himself a better Airman. He studies history and is up on current events. He strives to see the bigger picture and how our Air Force contributes to the national objectives of our country. 

THIS guy not only knows the core values, he lives them. He doesn't just memorize the Airman's Creed, he understands that it represents all we do as Airmen, and why.
And finally, THIS guy takes pride in the oath we all take as professional Airmen and strives everyday to uphold its principles; not for himself but for all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. 

These are just a few of the traits I feel THIS guy should possess. I'm sure there are many more and I encourage you to reflect and identify those you think THIS guy should have. Then, I challenge you to apply them to your everyday life. Hopefully, this will help you become a better leader and Airman. Strive to be THIS guy and never to be THAT guy!