By Master Sgt. Ethan Boyd, 127th Wing First Sergeant
/ Published October 23, 2011
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. --
As First Sergeant and Wing Fitness Program Manager I have Airmen come to me with reasons why they are not attaining and maintaining an excellent physical condition so often that I have coined the term "Military Maturity".
Webster's defines military as, "of, for or pertaining to the armed forces, war, or soldiers; befitting, characteristic of, or noting a soldier." It further defines maturity as, "ripeness, fully developed, perfected condition." So, "Military Maturity" is the military member's state of being in fully developed, perfected condition, befitting, characteristic of, or pertaining to war.
What I want you to do now is ask yourself the questions. "Am I fully developed and in perfected condition for war? Have I developed the befitting leadership character qualities to support our war fighting machine?
Our creed says, "I am" six times. Does your lifestyle support our creed? We need to be honest about our level of military maturity since we answered our nation's call. Our military is steeped in discipline, tradition, honor and valor. These are not normal terms that describe civilian life. These terms apply to the men and women of our military and are befitting and characteristic of the fully developed traits required to be called a warrior!
Warriors don't need to be reminded to cut their hair, shave, or how to properly wear the uniform. Warriors certainly don't need to be told to be physically fit. We learn this in basic training. Also, our Wing patch says, "We stand ready".
George Orwell described our nation's reliance on the military when he said,
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because tough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Ask yourself, "Do I really stand ready to serve my nation?"
Mature Airmen have read the Little Brown Book (AFI 36-2618) and know the Responsibilities of every level within the enlisted force structure. They follow AFIs, TOs and checklists. They maintain the highest level of technical, physical, mental, and spiritual readiness to meet mission requirements. If it's legal, moral, ethical and by the book it can be done. Mature Airmen have viewed the Air Force fitness assessment videos online and know the proper technique for performing each of their fitness components. Mature Airmen participate in a year-round fitness program not just to pass their annual fitness tests, but to maintain their highest state of physical readiness.
Military Maturity defines the core of our being and should be the mindset of all our Airmen, regardless of status. It is this inner knowing that we are called and held to a higher standard and expectation than our civilian counterparts. Our standard of dress, appearance, customs and courtesies set us apart from mainstream society. The ultimate sacrifice is intrinsically tied to our service and stated in our creed, "I defend my country with my life!" Military Maturity speaks to our character of this selfless service.
It has been said, that 'talent will take you but character will keep you.' Consistency of character over time develops credibility. Mature military members are honored because they have exhibited loyalty discipline, courage, integrity, service and excellence throughout their military career.
Outside the front gate lies a society with a particular view of the military that causes them to treat us with the highest respect. Military maturity says, "I saw in me what you see in me before you ever met me. I desired the discipline, authoritative structure and accountability inherent to this calling. I have researched and studied leadership in this unique arena and decided this is what I want because this is who I am. No one forced me. I volunteered.
There are standards levied upon me in the military that are not expected of civilians. I don't press toward the mark of minimums but I strive for the excellence of maximums. I am an American Airman. I am a warrior. I am faithful to a proud heritage. I am military and I am mature."
The qualities of mature Airmen are accountability, honor, courage, loyalty, and standards bearers. To reverse these qualities would drive to immaturity. Some find fault, criticize and condemn, but the militarily mature find solutions, edify and support their leadership. So, the next time you're tempted to excuse yourself from any of your military duties or responsibilities ask yourself, "Am I fully developed and in perfected condition for war?" No more excuses! Your life changed when you volunteered for this lifestyle. You are in the military and your maturity is required!