An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Oct. 9, 2008

The Stuff Legends Are Made Of

By Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Sealey 89th Airlift Wing command chief

As a young Airman, my first duty station was Yokota AB, Japan. Awesome place ... awesome food ... awesome time! However, the first few months of my assignment seemed to be focused more on the latter - the awesome time. You know how it is, young Airman, first time away from home and in a foreign land. I wanted to experience all that Japan had to offer, right then and there. 

In my unit there was a staff sergeant by the name of Larry. Staff Sgt. Larry was THE poster child for Security Forces. His uniform was razor sharp and military bearing was oozing from every pore. One day I was walking past his office door and I heard him say, "Airman." ... I froze dead in my tracks. I hadn't done anything wrong, but there was something in the way he said "Airman" that made me feel like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. 

He invited me into his office and began to speak to me about the "awesome time" I was having since I arrived; in short, I received my first butt chewing. Sergeant Larry possessed all of the leadership traits learned throughout our military careers, but what truly cut me to the quick, what transformed my mindset and military career, was the passion he had for this institution we call the United States Air Force. 

Webster defines passion as "fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence." Sergeant Larry had just that ... he was on fire. There is no doubt leadership is the most important concept that governs our life in the military. And the training of strong leadership qualities within our personnel has always been a hallmark of the American military tradition; but it is passion. When focused through the prism of vision, that ignites those qualities and traits into action. 

Always remember that leadership is a gift, and it's given by those who follow. So be worthy of the honor and exercise it with a vision-focused passion -- because that my dear friend is the stuff legends are made of ... well, at least the legend of Sergeant Larry.