Lessons learned – Three keys to military success go long way

Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Cohen
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

One of the most important lessons I learned at Officer’s Training School was that success in such an environment demands that one focus on three things: take it seriously, work as a team and have a good time.
Such an attitude was essential to excelling in the training environment, but it is also the right approach for daily life.
It applies to marriage, child rearing, one’s professional responsibilities on the base level and most assuredly, at a deployed setting.
Take it seriously. We are in a combat area. We are fighting a deadly foe who is bent on destroying our society, our culture and our values — be they conservative, liberal, Judeo-Christian, etc.
We are fighting a global war against terrorists. The lives and well-being of our loved ones back home depend upon us.
Future generations will live, or not, based upon our successes or failures.
This is reality and perhaps the reason why the Lord willed that we come into the world. We must never lose sight of our awesome responsibilities. This is our battle against evil, not too dissimilar from the war our grandparents fought in Europe 60 years ago.
Work as a team. Unity of purpose emulates godliness. One of God’s names is “Shalom,” or peace. “Shalom” also means “perfect unity,” just as God is a Perfect Unity.
We are all on the same team. We all work to defend the same nation, the same ideals.
Sometimes on a deployment we become lonely or forlorn. We must be on the look out for our compatriots and our teammates who are lonesome. A friendly greeting is nice, but it’s only a start. Unity of purpose is inclusive by nature. Befriending others, bringing them into our circle — this makes a team.
Have a good time: We have incredibly interesting and important jobs. We are the military. We belong to an awesome organization, and we know it. We should be proud of that. We are the tip of the spear; we lead the free world into harm’s way to put down the enemies of civilization and progress.
Every day, we accomplish not only our mission but a higher purpose. We man the most powerful military machine in world history, and we employ that force for good, decent and moral purposes. That is an accomplishment. That is something. And for that we can be proud and love doing it.
Finally, what is truly at the heart of everything I have said is that we need prayer. We need God on our side; we need to make him the center of our lives. For only through fear of heaven can we take it seriously. Only through love of him can we love others as to build this team. And through prayer, may he truly inspire us and give us the joy to know that we are doing his will.