Chief's Corner: CMSgt Charles Apodaca

  • Published
  • By CMSgt. Charles Apodaca
  • Space Base Delta 1

The Guardian or Airman in you…what is that? This is a question that I ask myself on a regular basis. To answer this question, I feel it’s important to define what it means to be a Guardian or Airman. When I close my eyes and attempt to define this, I think of words like “hero” and “champion” because I believe that is the image our nation pictures when they see us in uniform. However, what does it mean to be a hero or champion? 

Christopher Reeve said, “a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”  Wow! Does this sound familiar or what?  From the time our Air and Space Forces stood up to now, we’ve faced many obstacles, but we’ve persevered through it all. I suppose that makes a Guardian or Airman a hero.

To be a champion, in my mind, is to be someone who utilizes the skills they’ve built in life to help everyone around them achieve greatness. The Oxford dictionary defines a champion as, “A person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition.” Wow again! Is this not what our Guardians and Airman do daily? 

Our services are filled with people who strive for and achieve greatness on every stage across the globe. We might be the two youngest forces, but we continue to step up to the plate. We arm our sister services to perform stronger than they ever have. I suppose that makes a Guardian or Airman a champion.

Building to a status of what some would call a hero or champion is outstanding. However, I believe there is more to it when thinking through what it means to be a Guardian or Airman. In order to be strong, I believe it also takes balance. Tony Dungy said, “Balance provides the chance for longevity. You can be a champion at work and at home.”  It is great when one continues to win, but how can this be sustained?

While navigating down the path of success, it is imperative that one strikes balance in life. Of course, when you are at work continue to give it your all. However, don’t press so hard that it deteriorates your life outside of work. Go work out! Go watch a movie with friends! Go take care of your family! Being a hero or champion is great, but I strongly believe that balance is one of the secret ingredients that will allow you to continue to be a successful Guardian or Airman long-term.

So far, we’ve identified being a Guardian or Airman as someone who is a hero and a champion, who has balance in their life, but how does this resonate with you?

All of you are heroes and champions and I’m sure you understand the importance of adding balance to your everyday life. However, what do you bring to the table that makes you a Guardian or Airman? The answer for all of us might be similar, but it isn’t identical. We come from all walks of life and every one of you has something unique to offer. 

What is it? I believe that only you can truly know the answer to this question. It is something internal and intimate. It is something that you are passionate about. It is something you believe in and something you stand for. Maybe most importantly, it is something that defines who you are and something to be proud of. 

As you move forward, I challenge you to think through this from time to time.  When you do, ask yourself how you can continue down the path of success and how you can show the world the Guardian or Airman in you.  

U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Charles Apodaca poses for an official photo. Apodaca serves as one of two Senior Enlisted Leaders for Space Base Delta 1.