Your next move

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Richard Redman
  • 21st Space Wing command chief
As members of the military, we often take amazing opportunities for granted. Children and adults alike may have seen pictures of Rome or London, Alaska or Hawaii, or even Japan or Australia...knowing that may be as close as they ever get to those locations. We in the military have the wonderful chance to see or even live in amazing locations.

Why is it then that so many of us choose to join the military, but then spend our entire careers doing everything we can to stay close to home or at a base that seems to fit us or our families?

One answer that seems to shine through as I talk to and get to know people is that the longer someone stays in one place or one job, the more likely they are to want to remain there. The same people that wanted to see the world now just want to stay put where they are and in their comfort zone. The reasons are typically good for wanting to do so: "my kids are in school," "my spouse has a good job" or "I bought a house" are a few examples of the reasons I hear from people.

It is a natural instinct to want to settle and become part of a community or live close to family. I also think that it is OK to desire some level of stability for ourselves and our families. So why do I bring the topic up?

I believe there is a point that the desire and the actions to "stay local" are not compatible with the best interest of our chosen profession -- being an Airman. The point when an individual starts to put personal wants and needs ahead of Air Force needs is when someone begins to serve themselves rather than their service -- the Air Force.

To grow as a leader and a professional, especially at the more senior levels, we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and the comfort zone of our family...and many times, that means to move to a strange place. Yes, we have to make sacrifices that may not be easy, but that is precisely what we signed up for when we entered the Air Force.

I believe a military professional that is willing to take new opportunities, move to new places and experience new challenges can bring much more to the table later in their career. They bring an experience base to their team and the people they lead. The opportunities the Air Force and the military as a whole give us are almost endless. I have had the opportunity to serve around the world and I am grateful. Just as many of you have had to do, my family has had to endure hardships including changing schools many times, making new friends then leaving them and selling homes in a bad market. The ups have far outweighed the downs, however, as we have now traveled the United States and the globe.

Each of you that are inclined to do your best to stay here in Colorado Springs or another location need to consider the options available to you. You have the opportunity to do and experience so much that our Air Force has to offer. You need to consider what you may be able to give to your family that many will never be able to experience. You need to consider what it means to be an Airman and how the experience you gain can add to your toolbox and your ability to help shape the future of our Air Force at a higher level. Whether you work a cyber mission in Alaska, a NATO instructor tour in Germany, the island life in the Azores, a year at Fort Bliss studying with our great Army or a leadership position in Japan, you have opportunities that many only dream about.

And so I ask, "What is your next move?"