Time to pass the baton in my Air Force career relay

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Michael Blair
  • 452 AMW/PA
"Write about what?" I ask. "Write about anything," she re-plies. When I determine she is serious, my initial annoyance turns into exhilaration! Oh, the possibilities! I'm an untouchable...with one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel; I can say whatever I want with little fear of reprisal!

If you're not familiar with the phrase, "I'm so short I can limbo under a rug!" I assure you it applies to me. As you read this, I only have six military duty days remaining be-fore retirement. After 27 years performing superhuman above average work with continually shrinking resources (to the point where I can create anything out of nothing) my plan is to hang up my cape, hand the controls over to my equally qualified Airmen and keep a low profile until I make the final transition to civilian status. Imagine my chagrin when my editor interrupts my effort to do as little as possible with a request to write this commentary.

But what should I write about? Should I expound on my greatest peeves or my greatest pleasure? As it turns out, they are both related.
In my opinion, the best people in the world are affiliated with the United States military, with the greater concentration of advanced individuals wearing Air Force blue and the greatest of these located at March Air Reserve Base. Yeah, I may be biased, but the people I work with are the main reason I've survived all the irritating policies, programs and procedures that brought my career from the Cold War, through operations "Just Cause" and "Restore Hope," throughout wars in the Gulf, Middle-East conflicts, aide pro-grams--both foreign and domestic--to our current War on Terror and be-yond. As you read this I hope you realize I have you to thank for my long and productive career...and you're to blame for my bruised forehead.
As my editor burdened me with this onerous task, I was already grumpy from trying to establish my Defense Travel System (DTS) account. I practically have the word QWERTY stenciled above my eyebrows from banging my forehead on the keyboard for the umpteenth time...and the DTS website still refuses to function properly. Yes, I'm retiring; however, I strive to stay current on training to pass the physical fitness exam, display a professional image and -- most importantly -- be the best I can for my fellow Airmen. Are you ready for an epiphany? If you weren't so good, I wouldn't be "Omega" testing this DTS website with my face.
Beta testers are given "cutting edge" software to test and refine before it is released for use by the average person. You may not see it in writing, but the men and women at March ARB are Omega testers, going beyond "cutting edge" and refining the "bleeding edge" of what it means to be affiliated with the United States Air Force. Like so many assignments in the past, we would not be in this predicament if you weren't such outstanding members of the Armed Forces. You volunteer for missions at greater than expected rates, perform better and cost less than conventional military installations. At March ARB, Airmen host the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, California Air National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection to defend America and project her will around the globe. You have a well deserved reputation...and well deserved reputations are put to the test.

When you find yourself confronted with another irritating policy, program or procedure, just remember you wouldn't be in that situation if you weren't thought of so highly. Keep in mind, even our venerable M-16 assault rifle was once a piece of shoddy equipment until refined by veterans with your talent. If it doesn't survive you, it doesn't survive in the Air Force. No other air power on earth can match United States Air Force systems, weapons platforms, equipment and -- most importantly -- people.

As an Airman, you are the anvil on which the future is forged. I'll miss you; but, I'm proud of our accomplishments and feel safe retiring with the caliber of Airmen wearing Air Force blue.