A few good quotes

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- According to Mark Twain, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." This was one of his many clever remarks to address people's need to continue to expand their way of thinking by gaining knowledge.

In our Air Force, we are continuously challenged to learn and broaden our working base of knowledge. When a person says they have learned all they need to know, they are saying nothing will change, to include policy, technical data, equipment or strategies. However, as Daniel Boorstin said, "Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know."

Our professional team is highly trained and motivated. We hear commanders and politicians say this in Washington as well as war zones. We also hear our direct leadership saying the same. Then why would anyone waste time talking about education? Could it be because everyone is not the same, and everyone's motivation to improve themselves needs different types of encouraging voices? We all believe everyone wants to do a good job and sincerely wants to contribute to the effort. However, who inspires them to improve themselves and increase their worth to their unit and team?

Robert Hutchins said, "The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives." Carl Rogers added that, "The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change." As the Air Force develops leaders, it has to develop people who can educate themselves and adjust to the ever-changing and evolving mission.

Our mid-level supervisors and future leaders need inspiration to enhance their career knowledge. They need the push to be more than just satisfied but molded and developed into well-rounded and well-read professionals. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well." Spiderman's Uncle Ben echoed that when he said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Everyone has a responsibility, but how have we prepared? Have we simply breezed through our professional military education with nothing gained, or meet the minimum in each course or scholastic to get promoted? Have we challenged ourselves and pushed ourselves to gain knowledge that will enable us to make good solid decisions that could affect hundreds if not thousands of our fellow Airmen? Once again, Twain put it this way, "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."

The Air Force is a great way of life, it is an institution of excellence and its members should not accept anything less. As noncommissioned officers, senior NCOs, junior or senior officers, are you mentoring your people to excellence? Have you inspired them to seek out technical and academic opportunities that will broaden and improve their career and skill knowledge?

If not, consider the words of Albert Einstein, "Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations."