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VIEWPOINT: Preventative maintenance for your career

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The term "preventative maintenance" rings true with each branch of the military.

For example, it is better to ensure the treads on your tires have not worn past the girth of a penny before you have a blowout or a car accident. Another example may be verifying the location of your fire extinguishers within your work center and ensuring you know how to use the extinguisher properly before an entire cubicle becomes engulfed in flames.

A similar level of preventative maintenance may be necessary to circumvent an injurious "career-ender" when you are setting goals for your military career.

In life, you can be two things: a change agent or someone who accepts things the way they are. Being a part of the defense team is not an easy task, but it is very rewarding, to say the least. There is a defense service in each branch of the military that offers aid to every Airman, Sailor, Soldier or Marine seeking assistance. Seeking defense services is not something to be ashamed of; in fact, seeking defense services is preventative maintenance!

The defense service can help if you have any questions about the rights you are offered as a service member, need assistance responding to a personnel action or accusation, or even just want help getting your career back on track. More importantly, please remember that every member is entitled to defense services.

In recent months, our office has worked with some stellar Airmen who have made damaging, although not holistically detrimental, decisions. In fact, there are many amongst us who have made at least one bad decision in their careers or lifetimes. The key is your resilience after having made a bad decision. We are all a part of the world's greatest military, and we should always emulate the core values of our respective military organizations. No, we cannot be responsible for everything that goes wrong, but we should all be accountable for our individual wrongs.

Unfortunately, we are facing turbulent times in the military shared by all branches. The heat is on as our community of supporters hopelessly gazes from the outside with the impression that we are not governing ourselves according to our rules, regulations and standards. Of course, they know that we are a force to be reckoned with in combat, but unfortunately, they are losing faith in our ability to support and shepherd our most precious resource -- Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines.

On the contrary, we have members on the inside losing faith in the system -- a system we have all fought for and worked hard to build, a system that came long before us and will continue long after us, a system that depends on us so we do not have to depend on it.

Consider what preventative maintenance might be helpful for your career; because above all, we have to continue to prove that we are worthy to be members of the military -- not because we are entitled to it, but because we owe it to our predecessors and to this great nation!
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