Commander's Corner: Lt. Col. Gregory Moulton

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gregory Moulton
  • 87th Flying Training Wing

In my 17 years in the Air Force, I found three truths that guided me along and helped me make decisions as significant as guiding my career or as simple as the day-to-day ones.

The first truth is the Air Force owes you nothing more than an opportunity. What I mean by this is every job, position, or assignment is an opportunity. You may have worked hard to earn a new position, but do not think your past efforts will continue to propel you forward. You must continue to work hard in your new opportunity to keep moving forward, unlocking future opportunities.

On the other hand, you may be in a job you think is beneath you, a misuse of your skills, or one you don’t even want. That does not matter, you have a position, and the only thing you can control is what you do with it. You must change your mindset and challenge yourself to turn this into an opportunity for your benefit. If you have a poor attitude and performance, your leadership and supervisors will undoubtedly notice, and they will not likely consider you for the next ‘good deal.’ You must monitor your attitude, assess your work ethic and look at every situation as a stepping stone to the next better opportunity.

The next truth I want to discuss is what I call, “nobody takes care of you like you.” Please do not mistake this as me telling you to be selfish, self-centered and not a team player. What I am trying to convey is the Air Force is a giant machine, and you are a single, crucial part that sometimes might get overlooked. You need to keep track of all your professional business and not rely on the Air Force or your supervisors to track it for you.

For example, you should keep track of your physical training tests, enlisted performance report or officer performance report due dates, duty title, records and anything else that affects your primary duties or Air Force specialty code. There are systems out there to help track these items, but they are not perfect. It is paramount you are aware so you can advocate for yourself.

Time and time again, I see folks rushing last minute to turn in an OPR, find a missing record for a promotion board, or track down a physical training leader because a PT test fell off their radar. Performance reports are critical records because they capture your work, and let’s be honest—they are what get you promoted. When you fail to give them the proper time and attention, boards see right through that, and the crucial piece of information now missing from your record may cause you to miss out on the next opportunity. Do yourself a favor and take care of yourself. I promise that as you do, you will be better prepared to take care of those around you.

My third and final truth is family. Family is very important to me, and when I finish my Air Force career, I want my family standing right beside me and still in tip-top shape. If you step back and look at the grand picture that is your life, the Air Force is a job that you do for a period of time and then move on to something else, but your family is with you always. I am not downplaying the importance of the work we do to defend our country; however, what I am saying is you owe it to your family to manage your time and put them first when necessary.

There are times during my career where I had to place my family’s needs above those of the Air Force, which was not easy to juggle, but crucially important that I tend to my family first. As professional Airmen, we owe 100-percent focus on our jobs to the Air Force and our country, but when things aren’t settled at home, this is not possible. Build a strong family that is supported by you because there will be times when you need your family’s support so you can get the mission done.

I learned these three truths the hard way during my career, which caused me to work harder to overcome the setbacks I encountered. That is why I decided to share them with you in this article. They can be as straightforward or as complex as you make them. I urge you to consider these truths as you navigate through our Air Force. Seize every opportunity to propel yourself forward, take care of yourself and, most importantly, take care of your family.