Patriot – One
who loves his country,
and supports its authority and
This is one definition of a patriot.
How can we display patriotism?
How can we bring this trait out in every
There are countless ways and the
spectrum runs the gamut, from the flag
raising on Mount Suribachi by the Marines
on Iwo Jima and the firemen in the
World Trade Center, to the little things
someone does that go unnoticed.
These unnoticed acts are just as important
as those that get all of the attention.
These acts are what makes the
United States military what it is. In reality, we are all
patriots. Patriotism is what you feel inside, you are the
who decides what is the right thing to do, when it has to
done, regardless of the inconveniences or other prevailing
Everyone in the Guard is a volunteer. We are in the
Guard because we want and choose to be. Regardless of
the reasons or motivations that prompt someone to raise their
right hand and swear an oath to support and defend the
Constitution of the United States and our respective states,
Guard members made a positive decision to be part of our
nation’s military. That positive act, of stepping
telling our communities, the state and the nation that
can be counted on, makes each and every Guardsman, a
As leaders and NCOs, we need to recognize and find
that little spark of patriotism and develop it to the maximum.
That little spark that develops when the hero makes that decision
to do what has to be done at that critical moment
should not catch any senior leader or NCO by surprise.
Everyone has that spark in them. Again, we just need to
find it and give it the opportunity to shine!
It is human nature to want to do the right thing. Very
rarely does someone do something wrong intentionally.
We have to provide people with the opportunity to perform to
the best of their ability. Realize their will, find it and
them in the right direction. We can do this by leading
example, doing the right thing, and taking responsibility
our own actions. If we use all of the tools in our
to guide the people around us, we can bring out the
best in our people. By getting to know your
people, you let them get to know you.
This does not need to be a huge undertaking.
First impressions are lasting
impressions and they are the impressions
that people carry with them; and
in some cases, for a lifetime.
You can tell quite a bit about a
person the first time you meet them. I
met a young Airman the other day on a
refueling mission I happened to be on,
and we were both excited to be experiencing
what was happening around us.
I am near the end of my career and the
young Airman had been a member of
the ANG for just seven months. His
attitude, conduct and bearing, along with his approach to
that he was responsible for that day was admirable. I knew
he had all of the potential a person needs to be a future
leader in the Air National Guard. It was a genuine pleasure
to be around such an enthusiastic and energetic individual.
The Airman was the one I had a chance to meet, but the
other Airmen on the aircraft exhibited the same professionalism
that he did. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to
meet and converse with all of the other Airmen. Yet, for
it was quite a thrill to be surrounded by younger Airmen,
who are the Air National Guard's future. It made me very
proud and pleased to know that we are moving forward in
right direction. And it is imperative that we let our people
know that they are important, that they are appreciated and
that they are doing the right thing.
People are our most valuable asset and our most
important resource. As leaders, we need to insure that our
newest members receive all the guidance we can provide as
they embark on this most exciting time in their lives.
Entering military service is like opening a novel to its
page; how it ends is determined by the content between
page one and the last page. If we are to help mold a future
generation of patriots, we need to be certain that each
member has all of the “content” they will need
successful team members. We want to make sure they
stay around to finish the book.
There is an old maxim that states, “actions speak
louder than words.” So let it be by our actions that
judged and let it be our actions that nurtures the next
generation of patriots.