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Leadership: not just for the high-ranking

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- There are many ways an Airman can become a great leader and mentor for those around them. When I first came to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., I had no clue what to expect. My leadership has constantly changed in the year that I've been stationed here. I do my best to learn what I can from every Airman I work with.

Knowledge is power in the Air Force. I've done my best to soak up this knowledge. Passing on my knowledge to others makes me a leader in my own way, regardless of my rank.

Not everyone was born to become a leader. I've noticed many Airmen who would be considered followers. These Airmen will do what they're told which is great, but if they never step up, they'll never be able to lead when they put on that next stripe. Many young Airmen have problems adjusting to someone other than their parents having authority over them. The transition from follower to leader takes time, but it can be a very valuable, life-changing experience.

I came to the Air Force at a later age than most Airmen. I believe my experience in life has made it easier for me to become a mentor for those around me. I found even Airmen at the same rank can be mentors. They were in the same shoes as you not long before, and want you to succeed. Everyone is different, so finding the right mentor can be difficult. I've had more of a group of mentors to help mold me into the Airman I am today.

Generally, when someone thinks of leadership, they often think of someone with more stripes and a higher pay grade. I believe anyone can be a leader if they set their mind to it. I considered myself a follower when I first came to F.E. Warren, but now I'm helping train the new Airmen.

It takes exceptional mentorship to mold followers into leaders. I believe the superiors who mentored me set good Air Force examples. When it comes time to put on my next stripe, I believe I will be ready for that responsibility as a result of the mentoring I've received during my time at F.E. Warren.