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"Optimism (light) is the power that ultimately defeats fear (darkness)."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NCOs and The Wild Blue Yonder!

Tonight was the night to work on getting this blog some "lift". Seems there has been cold weather, de-icing is just not that great, and this blog must stay on track to achieve mission success!

I wandered off to a web ring for military blogs and signed up to be part of the ring. There seem to be quite a few folks in the queue ... who knows how long it will take to get approved.

Oh well, I have been in the so waiting is no big deal. Right?

Well, after tweaking this blog template and getting the web ring links live, I started to click around. The first blog I hit was for a High School Football Player in Los Angeles. His site is called Lineman's Thoughts. I started to read his posts, and found a great posting he made on 08/17/05 titled, "About NCOs". There were a few things that just jumped out at me - having been and NCO. I'll jot down some of the quips that brought back memories for me.

At first, he describes an issue with another cadet in training in their squadron. Recognizing that there is a problem and then attempting the first things that come to mind signals a good leader.
"The cadet in question has been suffering from low self-esteem and I, along with many of my fellow staff members, have been trying to make him realize just how good a cadet he actually is. No matter what we tried (and we tried everything we could think of), nothing seemed to work."
Now, when the simple things just don't seem to trigger the correct response(s), a stronger sense of leadership kicks in and we begin to gravitate to the basics: drill, commitment, camaraderie, team work.
"...managed to talk him into going to Encampment. Encampment is Civil Air Patrol's version of basic training. It is a week of learning everything you need to know to be a CAP cadet and it really builds character. It is one of the most memorable weeks of my life, and I will never forget how proud I was to stand out on the parade grounds of Camp San Luis Obispo graduating from Encampment."
Once there is common ground and everyone understands the mission, things just seem to ... click. If a leader can see inside a fellow team member in trouble and manage their transition into a stronger individual supporting the overall mission, well, you know the rest.
"We wanted to make him realize how good a cadet he is. He has natural leadership ability and I have always liked him. I've sort of taken him under my wing to make sure he gets by alright."
Bammo! When everyone in the management chain is there to promote and support, things right themselves and teams have individual and combined successes.
"He said that it was one of the most memorable weeks of his entire life."
It is great how this team of Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Leaders is once again working at full strength. And that, my friends, is why so many of us LOVE what we continue to do in the USAF, did in the USAF, or do now that we are in the civilian "ranks".

What really caught me was the following:
"But this is what being a Non-Commisioned Officer is all about. An NCO is in the thick of it, leading those around him..."

"An NCO is more of a big brother. He is a mentor, someone who knows what to do and gets the job done. If all else fails, if you have no idea what is going on, if you need assistance, then find an NCO. I love it. I love leading those under me. It holds its own special rewards. I like to see those that I have trained do well, and I hate to see them fail. It is almost like being a parent. You become attached to them, because you held their hand as they first learned how to march in formation. You taught them to shine their shoes. You showed them how to wear the uniform properly. And you always hope to see the day when those you trained move up the ranks and take your place. It fills you with a lot of pride, to know that that's one of your former cadets that is now the commander of this or that squadron."

"But more than that, I always like taking a special interest in the hard cases. Those, like my protege, who have problems. I don't know why, but helping them overcome obstacles and realize their own potential is very fulfilling. And that's why I love being an NCO. I like helping others, it makes me feel good."
The U.S. Air Force is losing a great NCO or Officer when this young man goes off to NAVY OTS! Too bad we can't make him see that we, without those "wings of gold" as we are often told, have LOTS of planes to fly up in the great blue sky!

After all, our song is, "The Wild Blue Yonder", is it not? And, can someone out there tell me where on earth I need to stow the anchor on this F-14? Uh ... "Anchors Aweigh"?

(just kidding, Andrew, I just had to poke some fun here!)

Who owns the skies? THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, my friends!!!

Thanks to the Hill Aerospace Museum, here are the lyrics:
The U.S. Air Force Song

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Additional verses:

Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder;
How they lived God only knew! (God only knew then!)
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wings, ever to soar!
With scouts before And bombers galore. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"

Here's a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old,
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!


Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true;
If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder
Keep the nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue, boy!)
Flying men, guarding the nation's border,
We'll be there, followed by more!
In echelon we carry on. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
I really liked the story that Hill Aerospace Museum provides. In fact, there is a picture of the author of our beloved song! Here is the history of how our song came into being, right from their website:

History of the United States Air Force Song
Compiled by MSgt Peter D. Forman
USAF Heritage of America Band

Composer Robert M. Crawford: In 1938, Liberty magazine sponsored a contest for a spirited, enduring musical composition to become the official Army Air Corps song. Of 757 scores submitted, the one composed by Robert MacArthur Crawford (1899-1961) was selected by a committee of Air Force wives. The song (informally known as "The Air Force Song" but now formally titled "The U.S. Air Force") was officially introduced at the Cleveland Air Races on September 2, 1939. Fittingly, Crawford sang in its first public performance.

A bridge section, "Toast to the Host," is part of the original Air Force Song. Many times this is sung as a separate piece. This is the verse which commemorates those who have fallen in the name of our service and our great country. This is the reason for the difference in melody and the reverent, reflective mood.

Crawford didn't write "Hey!" in the lyrics. He actually wrote "SHOUT!" without specifying the word to be shouted. Also, wherever they appear, the words "U.S. Air Force" have been changed from the original "Army Air Corps." By the way, the words in parentheses are spoken, not sung.
Stay Tuned to ...


At 9/02/2005 01:49:00 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

Sir, thank you very much for dropping by my site. Just spotted your comment and trackback while going through my archives. Seems that many have been telling me to go Air Force instead of Navy, lately.

At 9/02/2005 10:59:00 AM, Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

Andrew - I was kidding of course! As I said to you in a separate e-mail, follow your heart. If you have always wanted to be a Naval Aviator, GO FOR IT!!! :)

Following and succeeding in your dreams is what makes us all happy later in life. I am very happy in the path I chose - I got to work on some PRETTY COOL PLANES by choosing to go enlisted and become a Nav Systems Specialist.

At 9/07/2005 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Seems you've got some spammers , Steve.

At 9/07/2005 11:51:00 PM, Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

Thanks, Andrew, on the spammers heads up!

I instituted using the comment spam blocker feature. I really don't like it, but spam bots have made this bad for all of us.



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