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Got Esprit de Corps?

Maj. Gene Smith, 460th Space Wing Contracting Flight commander

Maj. Gene Smith, 460th Space Wing Contracting Flight commander

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- My first exposure to esprit de corps was as a cadet in ROTC.

My detachment commander would rally up all the cadets on Leadership Lab Fridays. He would not only give a speech, but he also participated in the team-building events followed by meeting everyone afterwards. It wasn't his rank or position that made everyone help each other, encourage each other and give 100 percent at those team-building events. It was his ability to ignite a feeling of belonging as a team - esprit de corps!

I remember that feeling to this day. I understand now that my commander was teaching us how important and powerful esprit de corps is in our line of work as Airmen defending our nation in the world's greatest Air Force. It was a part of his toolbox as a commander and leader. When used, it can ignite the fire of camaraderie amongst fellow Airmen, and great things can happen.

Now that I am a commander, I look into my toolbox and see how I can apply esprit de corps in my unit. I want to create a spark that will ignite a blaze of cohesion amongst my Airmen that will optimize performance, enhance pride and make my unit shine supporting Buckley's space mission.

In closing, I encourage you as leaders to go back to your unit and see if you need to reach into your toolbox and apply esprit de corps. I have found, in my experience, that esprit de corps is one of the best motivators and vital in reinforcing our Air Force core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do.