AF people should reenergize, ‘reblue’ during their careers

Master Sgt. Darrell Payne
Air Force Personnel Center

I was privileged to attend the Basic Military Training graduation ceremony recently of a young man that I know through a good friend.
The graduating troops were marching in tight formations from the training side of the base. Band members, also trainees, were getting their instruments ready as the flights assembled on the parade grounds.
As I was completely engulfed by all the activities going on, I was approached several times by visiting family members wanting to know tidbits of information: Do you know where training flight 367 is? Do you know which way the band will be facing during the ceremony? Are you some type of instructor?
That’s when it really hit me, I was at the very place I started my Air Force career. Twenty something years ago, I was preparing to graduate just as these folks were today.
As I watched the troops march by me on the parade field, I realized that my replacement was somewhere in one of the graduating flights.
The ceremony began at 9 a.m. sharp. No delays and no interruptions; the ceremony was done with perfection and professionalism from the opening to the closing.
As the troops went through their drill maneuvers on the parade field in preparation for review by the commander, I could feel my eyes starting to swell. I was here to see the start of a career, just as my parents did for me in 1982.
I felt so proud to be part of the Air Force family and this trip, at this time, was the most meaningful adventure that I have experienced during my Air Force career.
You see, sometimes we (Air Force enlisted members) forget that we all started this journey on this same parade field. Some have paid and are paying the ultimate price of freedom for this great country of ours.
I was immensely “blued” during the ceremony. If I had my way, I would have marched along with the new troops to show a sign of commitment and solidarity. Of course that was physically impossible; however, I can assure you I took each step with each flight as they passed in review.
It was a proud time for me and I could see by the gleaming faces that the graduates were ready; they were set; they were on the way to bigger and better things by serving in the best Air Force in the world.
On the drive home, I reflected on what I had just experienced — something I feel each senior noncommissioned officer should do at least once during their career.
To get reenergized and refocused … to get “re-blued.”