It’s the little things that go a long way

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo (AFRC) -- What I have to say about the upcoming year is nothing as eloquent or insightful as what Air Force senior leaders may write, but as a new Airman, with fresh eyes, I want to make a few observations. 

I have my standard New Year’s resolutions already planned - lose a few pounds, sort out my finances, take up a new hobby. But this year will be different. This year, unlike last, I am a member of the United States Air Force. 

For 2006, I will be adding hopes of achieving goals in my unit, such as higher rank, adding more duties, etc. Though I wear the airman first class chevron on my sleeves, I am bound with a college degree and five years of "real life" working experience. My enlistment was a little unconventional in that I joined later in life after college and I did not become an officer. I joined, like most, for my own personal reasons. I don’t know what the future holds for my civilian job, but I am compelled to be a part of what I think is the greatest branch of the military. 

I am not telling you these things to make myself look better, if anything, quite the opposite. My civilian job is much different than my duties at the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron. 

Though I am older than many who wear higher rank on their sleeves, I am humbled by their helpfulness and experience. I deserve to be the rank I am at - I don’t know what I am doing. You know that first day of school when you don’t know anyone or where you’re going? I felt like that in my new unit - for about five minutes - because of the friendly professionals who were there to help me. 

If you’re not sure what the ASTS really is, it is comprised of nurses, doctors, medicals technicians and diet therapy (my field). These people are consummate professionals. Chief Master Sgt. Stephanie Pauley, who has been in our unit the longest, informed me of our overall mission. We provide the wing with medical support such as physical exams and emergency medical services, not to mention the numerous training tasks we accomplish on our drill weekends, ensuring our personnel are war ready. I am honored to be a part of this unit, and knowing as little as I do in the military sense, it’s helpful when someone takes you under their wing. 

So many military members are kind and treat me with respect. But I have seen a few that are a little jaded, but, maybe I’m just wide-eyed and optimistic. If that’s you, jaded, just know that you can make a difference for us “newbies.” We watch what you do. We look up to you. And whether you realize it or not, it’s the little things that count. 

I can tell you of an incident, when my medical records were not in my charts for some reason. I had to do something I fear, getting blood drawn. Two members of my unit, 1st Lt. Samuel Downs and Master Sgt. Tammy Gettman, literally held my hand through it. They made me laugh so hard that day and feel comfortable. They treated me as a human being with nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an example of the immense appreciation I hold for many of my co-workers. 

So, when you’re adding to your laundry list of resolutions, maybe jot on there to pay special attention to us newcomers in the field. Maybe just one day, we’ll be able to help you in return.