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NEWS | April 11, 2008

You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be

By Col. David C. Geuting 89th Airlift Support Group commander

Thirty years ago, I was an Airman at my first duty location. I had enlisted in the Air Force out of high school and thought I would spend four years in the Service while I figured out what I wanted to do in life. Working in the Consolidated Base Personnel Office, the predecessor to today's Military Personnel Flight, Airman Basic Geuting was a good worker, an honor graduate from personnel tech school, and a pretty good guy. However, other than taking a few night classes, I had no plan for future success. 

Luckily, my squadron commander had loftier goals for me than I did for myself. He stopped me one day and said he could nominate an enlisted Airman for attendance at the Air Force Academy. At 18 years of age, I thought that sounded good. To make a long story short, he nominated me for the Air Force Academy, I ended up attending the Preparatory School first, and then graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission. 

Recently, the Education Office advertised briefings on the various commissioning programs available to enlisted Airmen. Regardless of your age, marital status, and educational background, one of these programs may be the right fit for you. The key to all of them though is setting a goal and working toward it. All of the programs take a commitment of time, effort, and patience. There is no shortcut and there is no easy route. However, I have found that is true for most things worth having. 

I encourage the enlisted Airmen on Andrews to have a better sight picture than I did. Think about what you want to become and then set a course for success. If you want to pursue a career as a commissioned officer, do not wait for someone to consider nominating you for one of the commissioning programs. Make your intentions known to your chain of command and talk with the counselors at the education office. 

They can advise you on the path that will best match your background. Then start working toward your goal. The first step will be duty performance. None of your supervisors will recommend a sub-par performer. You have to establish a record of success. At the same time, you have to hit the books. Whether it is your Career Development Course, your Weighted Airman Promotion System material, or your Community College of the Air Force class, you have to study, study, study. Finally, get involved in your base and community. All the commissioning programs concentrate on leadership. 

You demonstrate this through your efforts to improve where you work and where you live.
Thirty one years after I first enlisted, I have the honor of serving as a colonel in the world's greatest Air Force. In addition, I get to command 400 of our finest Airmen. Any of you could become a colonel, a group commander, or more. You just need to set a flight plan and stay on course. SAM FOX!