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Chief’s Corner – week of July 2

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Talker vs. Action

No, I am not writing about a court case. I am writing about two different types of individuals I observed during my recent deployment and throughout my career.  In this instance, I define a "talker" as someone who you constantly hear talking in meetings, in the hallways of the building and standing on the sidelines, while the job is being completed by everyone else.  The "action" individual is someone who gets the job done doesn't let any obstacle stand in their way and more often than not, does it with little to no fanfare.  I know most of you know who I am talking about but I wanted to share one positive example of two senior airmen I witnessed taking "action" on my deployment.

It is important to note the base I deployed to did not have the amenities or infrastructure most us have come accustomed to when we deploy. We were reestablishing the base and even though it was supposed to be maintained in a "warm" status, I can you assure you it was 'cold' when we arrived.  The buildings were in disrepair, hundreds of tents needed to be built, the communication lines had been ripped out and that is just a few of the things that made it a bare- base-build-up-operation. There was just enough infrastructure to house the Air Force and the three coalition partners. However, on top of all of that, we had a 1,500 person Marine unit assigned to the base.  Every hardened structure and tent that was built or being built as living quarters or office space was filled.  Despite all the obstacles and long hours we still had amazing airmen coming up with great ideas on how to make the base a better place.

Long before any official private organizations were formed several non-commissioned officers and Airmen brought up the idea of an Airman's Attic.  The concept was for redeploying airmen to have a place to drop off anything serviceable they did not want so it could be passed on to anyone who did.  As with most things on the base, this was not going to be an easy task. We simply didn't have the time or space.  Those obstacles ended up discouraging most of the Airmen, which led to quite a bit of talk and not a lot of action.  A couple of weeks passed when two senior airmen walked into my office and asked if they could take on the project.  My answer was of course, yes.  They had already come up with some great ideas and every possible obstacle I threw at them was solved, accomplished or they identified a solution. They wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.  Even more amazing is the fact that they didn't once ask for help.  They simply thought outside the box and took action.

Within a week. they had a plan in place and had coordinated with the Marines to acquire one of their 20 foot conex containers to be used as the attic. Not only did they acquire the conex container from the Marines, but they also convinced the Marines to deliver it to their specified location. This, to say the least, was no easy task.  Next, they came up with a schedule and convinced the NCOs and Senior NCOs to help with running the attic.  There was no, "You will do this" from the base leadership team. The two senior airmen simply inspired others to take action.  I simply cannot do justice in this article how hard of a task this was for them, but they got it done and in an expedited manner.  So ask yourself, are you an Airman who is a "talker" or an Airman who takes "action?"
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