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Lead, follow, get out of the way

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- My first Air Force lesson 27 years ago was "lead, follow or get out of the way."

A great deal has changed over the years but not the basic principle of leading or following every day. What has changed is we no longer have the luxury of allowing any Airman to get out of the way.

Ask yourself throughout the day if you are leading or following and improving the mission or people. If not doing either, you have decided to get out of the way. Shame on all who allow this to happen. Airmen and America need you leading and following now more than ever. 

Our quest for more leaders and followers has expanded to higher expectations from everyone. The responsibilities of our newest Airmen have grown rapidly over the past years, and they have exceeded expectations. 

The confidence of our commanders manifests itself in faster promotions, higher mission achievements and improved education, both military education and formal degree programs. For the past 16 years, we have been engaged in deploying Airmen within the air expeditionary force construct. 

Our Air Force has increasingly required better trained, educated and fit Airman to accomplish the mission right here, right now. 

United as a team, we must accomplish both mission requirements and take care of each other. From airman basic to colonel, everyone must both lead and follow often in a day's work. 

Ask yourself in every task if you're leading or following with the best of your ability, motivation and positive attitude completing the task at hand. The days of getting out of the way are no longer an option. 

Take time every day to build stronger relationships and teams, improve skills and keep an eye out to ensure no co-worker falls behind or gets out of the way. If by chance someone falls behind, pull them back up with the team. Be a great wingman first and foremost. 

World circumstances require all Airmen to stand as one, completing mission requirements and developing our No. 1 resource -- our people. Greater agility, leadership, involvement, versatility and education from each Airman is required. 

With smaller numbers we must be capable and vigilant to meet our wing's mission; there are no spectators in the war on terrorism.