Choose to serve proudly, when, wherever possible

  • Published
  • By Col. Joylon Walker
  • 301st Mission Support Group
First of all I'd like say how grateful I am to be the new 301st Mission Support Group commander. I have been overwhelmed by the warm reception I've received from those I've met. 

I married in 1972, and enlisted in the Air Force a month later. My wife and I know no other life; we've been stationed or have traveled to five of the seven continents and all but two of the United States. This assignment will be our last before retirement and the "golden years." Again, I am/we are glad to be here. 

I believe in taking advantage of Air Force training and educational programs. My Community College of the Air Force degree, which included Airman and NCO Leadership School courses, opened the door for my acceptance into the Reserve Officer Training Corp. Montgomery G. I. bill entitlements provided enough money for me to attend university while completing both my bachelor and masters degrees. I enrolled and completed Professional Military Education as soon as I was eligible for each level. Had I chosen not to attend colleges and universities, and take Professional Military Education courses when eligible, I would not be Mission Support Group commander now. 

Another choice we all have is how and where we serve. I qualified in three AFSCs as an enlisted member and have three officer AFSCs. I volunteered for remote enlisted and officer overseas assignments. I've moved twice as an Air Reserve Technician. 

It certainly would have been less disruptive to my personal and family life to "homestead" at any of the places we've lived. My wife would have preferred that I not deploy to Saudi Arabia and to Central Command Headquarters in 2006. I know she would have rather had me home in 1984-1985 with her and our eight children (the oldest was 8, the youngest four months old) than being at Comiso AS, Italy. Be ready to serve when and where you can. You will make a difference. 

I have had plenty of opportunity to become involved in questionable activities in the 35 plus years of my Air Force career. Too many times I've heard "What goes TDY stays TDY." 

There is one standard in the Air Force it applies to all of us, wherever we are. We have all sworn to abide by that standard. When we keep standards, opportunities are available to us. When we violate standards, we risk losing those opportunities. More than ever, we must choose to comply with guidelines, policies, and regulations. In my experience, when we chose correctly we gain personal and professional success. 

I've seen and been a part of the Air Force transformation for the last three decades. In my opinion, now is one of the most critical times for the Air Force. We must choose to serve to the best of our ability, when and wherever and we can. In doing so, we protect our freedoms at home and around the globe. 

I am proud to be an Air Force Reserve member in the 301st Fighter Wing.
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