ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Thanks to media and technology, we can now be everywhere at once. We celebrate with our Olympians, grieve with the victims of flooding in Louisiana, and identify with those locked in conflict at home and abroad.
Even at a glance, the news highlights the churn presently within our society. We’re still a nation at war, and now the fight is returning to our homeland in the form of rogue terrorist attacks.
We’re also ruminating on social issues like racial inequalities as voiced by groups like Black Lives Matter, the renewed debate on immigration reform, the establishment of LGBT rights, and one of the most controversial presidential races in our history.
Here at Robins Air Force Base, one of our vital unions is experiencing significant turmoil within its ranks. We watch these many events unfold with great interest.
We expect Robins to be a safe, welcoming environment in which to accomplish the mission. That said, we don’t check our thoughts, opinions and struggles at the gate.
Many among us identify deeply with events currently making the headlines, and it’s natural to talk about them with our colleagues.
Discussion and debate can help us make sense of things – see more sides to an issue than our personal experiences have brought us to understand. We come from different backgrounds and have different opinions and beliefs. Therein lies our greatest strength as an Air Force – diversity of thought breeds innovation.
Without measure, those discussions can also become divisive and corrosive ... if we let them.
While you exercise your right to free speech in the workplace, I ask that you be mindful of those around you. We don’t have to agree with one another, but we must always respect each other. This is our home away from home, and those around us are family.
At the end of the day, we can’t afford to lose focus on the mission. Not even for a minute.
This year marks Robins Air Force Base’s 75th anniversary. For 75 years, Airmen – military and civilian – just like us have weathered world, national and local events. They worked side-by-side through wars and disasters, the Civil Rights Movement, and many contentious elections at the local and national level. Through it all, those Airmen stayed focused on the job at hand. Was it always easy? Of course not, but they realized they were part of something big, something unifying ... the mission.
As citizens, we need to talk about the issues facing our nation and community. As people, we need to be mindful and supportive of those around us. As Airmen, we need to stay focused on the mission. One thing is for sure ... those downrange are counting on us to give our best, each and every day, and we are at our best when we work together as a team.
Keep Calm and Airman On!