Striving for greatness Published Jan. 7, 2015 By Col. David Brooks 127th Air Refueling Group commander SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- A common wish for parents is to see their children achieve a higher level of greatness in life; to out-achieve them in the game of "greatness", if you will. Society has defined many measures of what it means to be great. Some of these measures can include wealth, power, influence, longevity, and fame. I believe, however, it is important to separate out some of these societal measures of "greatness" and focus on personal greatness. Personal greatness involves understanding one's own strengths and weaknesses. Over time, greatness builds when an individual leverages strengths and gifts to maximize their positive effect on others, while simultaneously identifying and addressing weaknesses. Greatness is also achieved through mutual support and trust. When we all accept that we are gifted in different ways, it becomes easy to allow others to "fill in the gaps" created by our own weaknesses, especially when striving for common objectives. The path to individual greatness is different for each person. To an extent, the trials of life, always randomly spaced, and never consistently applied, have a huge influence on the path to greatness. Difficulties allow us to seek alternate points-of-view, force us out of our comfort zone, and test our resolve and determination. Ultimately, greatness cannot be fully understood, recognized, or appreciated without a path of destruction and failure along the way. It is this "trial-by-fire" that allows us to adapt, evolve, and achieve a higher level of personal greatness. Set-backs on the path to individual greatness will occur, how we handle some of these set-backs ultimately becomes yet another ingredient in the personal greatness recipe. As we embark on a New Year in 2015, let's consider our personal path to greatness. Take stock of where we are and the goals that can move us forward. Let's define higher personal greatness as a long-term goal and set out to identify supporting objectives. We can encourage ourselves to avoid laziness in sharing our talents and gifts. We can certainly be striving for higher greatness at every opportunity. I wish all of you and your loved ones a successful, happy, and prosperous New Year. About the 127th Wing Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.