A recent promotion in the Civil Air Patrol, a meeting with the Air Force Reserve Group NCO of the Quarter Board, and Air Force Reserve training generated many thoughts about humbleness.
The weekend started with me meeting the NCO of the Quarter Board in my Air Force Reserve Group. I had to provide an opening statement about my history. It’s difficult to talk about my achievements. I don’t feel I have many. I spoke for about 5 minutes and if I properly addressed each accomplishment, I probably could spend 20 minutes. My Air Force / Air National Guard experience isn’t much different than many that have also served. Many people have received their degrees, worked in aviation, and have a pilots license. I spoke with pride on the outside. On the inside, I know I have a longer list of the things I want to do and yet of the things I have done, I need to do more of.
Some of the training that did take place over the weekend was putting power on the C-17 and opening and closing the cargo door. A couple of senior airman (one stripe below me) were the qualified ones conducting the training. I didn’t have a problem with that. It was a good reminder that rank is a limited indicator of experience. In training, rank has no place. It’s experience that matters. Completing the training still doesn’t make you an expert. It’s now up to me to open the manual read the steps again to reinforce the hands on and better understand the “why” of each step.
By the end of the weekend, I found out I did not get NCO of the quarter and I know why. I messed up a key question: Name the Air Force Commands and what they do. It was then I had a brain fart moment. I named several but not all. One that I did not name was the one I belonged to: Air Force Reserve Command. Everyone in the room was part of that Command so why state the obvious, right? Unless the other NCO’s really botched their interviews, there is no way a Board member could bestow the award to the individual that forgot their own Command. Even if all of the NCO’s made the same mistake, I think the Board would have to be in a position to say “Well, I guess this quarter we don’t have a winner”. If no one earned it, don’t settle for less. Is that too humble of a concept in this day and age of participation trophies?
People (who didn’t know I botched the question) said, “There’s always next quarter”. At that point I wasn’t ready to consider another try. Next quarter may be too soon to be prepared. I’m warming to the idea of a quarter in the not too distant future though. I’m there to work on aircraft not win awards. However, a recent blog I read said:
“People everywhere are looking for you. Get on the radar.”
That motivated me a bit to not delay my visit with the next Board.