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We got the Power

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- I arrived at Barksdale for the second time about a year ago; this time with Air Force Global Strike Command working in the communications directorate. I departed in July of 2007 for more than five years away from my family, which has been by far the most difficult situation I have had to face up to this point. My wife and I decided the best opportunity for my daughters to succeed was to keep them in the same high school until graduation, for college and beyond. I spent two years in Guam then more than three years in Altus Air Force Base, Okla. with a year deployment thrown in the mix. Recently, I was driving back from San Antonio from my youngest daughter's wedding (to an Airman fresh out of basic training) and heard a song by SNAP called the Power. As I thought about the years and how quickly they have passed by, I started thinking, you know what, "I have the power".

Power is awesome. If you have the power you can make it through anything. I want to share my power with you in the hopes you take what you can and use it to your advantage.

P = Positivity is in you

Staying positive about any situation will get you through it. Keeping positive will help you see the facts as they play themselves out and will allow you to see that there is always a way to make it through anything. On my year long deployment, my grandson was placed in the hospital for two weeks and diagnosed with diabetes and our family dog that we have had for many years became sick and passed away. Many, many other issues kept popping up that made the year tour a challenge, but I always stayed positive and kept the family outlook positive; we made it through. There is a saying, "what lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us."

O = Opportunities

Opportunities come our way every day. It is a decision on your part to take on opportunities or pass them to someone else. An opportunity is never lost because if you don't grab hold of it someone else will. The most challenging opportunities are those that are difficult and no one wants. Those challenging opportunities help you grow and learn more than any other. With each opportunity, be persistent and give maximum effort. The smallest of opportunities could lead to the biggest rewards. Sometimes your ship doesn't come in so it is up to you to swim out to it.

W = We have to be one

By being one, we always work together as a team to get things accomplished. No matter what challenges are placed in front of you, by working together you can always achieve more. You may very well be the smartest person in your area but the team will always bring more to the table than you can possibly provide alone. Our very own Thunderbirds are proof of that. They have spent many hours getting their maneuvers exact to give a great performance. One little snowflake can cause an avalanche once it starts moving down a mountain. Be that single snowflake; create an avalanche by working together as one.

E = Exceptional respect for all

Exceptional respect for other people is our business. Have you heard the term military service? We exist to serve the people of United States of America by defending the Constitution. The very fabric of our Constitution is showing respect to all. We respect our team mates, our subordinates and our supervisors. We respect each other's backgrounds, values and religious beliefs. But most of all, we respect ourselves. Being a member of the greatest Air Force takes a great commitment. We respect all people regardless of rank. We stand when approached or spoken to, always answer the phone appropriately and treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Always use the "Golden Rule". Show respect for all and see how much more pleasant life will be.

R = Read and relax

There is nothing better to escape reality a little than reading a book. It doesn't matter what form you choose to read - hard copy, e-reader, etc. - just do it. Find something that interests you and escape. These days, life is so fast paced and everyone wants instant gratification, but take some time away. Read books on management and leadership styles. I have found our Air Force history is amazing if you take the time to do a little research and read. Read biographies for job knowledge or for pleasure. Reading will set you down the path of relaxation which is very important to your overall well-being. Find what interests you, relax and have fun. I enjoy weight training, hiking and geocaching. I really enjoy spending time with family riding side-by-side down mud trails. You've got to make time to get away and reflect. Read and relax.

My drive from San Antonio gave me time to reflect. Reflect on my family, how proud I was of my daughter getting married and on my Air Force career; so this is why I shared my power with you. Now you have the power. Take this chance to use your power as you see fit. Your country asks a great deal from you in maintaining freedom and defending the constitution. No matter what, keep your head up, come in everyday a true professional, and always give your best. Use your power and keep moving forward in your personal and professional growth. I promise that each challenge you face will get easier simply because of the experiences you have overcome. Through my years of experiences, I know the Air Force family is a great place to be. May life be all you wish it to be but don't wait for things to happen - make it happen!