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Lessons of a mess dress warrior: Two new resolutions for 2012

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Corey Simmons
  • 62nd Operations Support Squadron commander
At the first of every year, Airmen stand in front of the mirror and make resolutions to have a better, more focused year.

Perhaps it is to lose weight, better physical fitness scores, work hard on their master's or bachelor's degrees or study a little harder to earn that next stripe. I too made resolutions for 2012, but on Feb. 22 at our very own "Stars of McChord" Annual Awards dinner, I made two more.

Like many others in our wing, I reached into my closet and pulled out the old mess dress uniform, still in the dry cleaning plastic from when I wore it last year. Unfortunately, the buttons on the shirt and pants seemed to be malfunctioning, fitting a wee bit tighter than they did a year ago. I put on the jacket, snapped on the cuff links and made my way to the club.

As I walked in I began to ask myself, "Why in the world do we go through all of this pomp and circumstance for an annual awards event?"

Limos, red carpet, an interview stand, more than 300 people dressed to the nines --  is all of this worth it? I sat down at my table, looked around the room, and it all became very clear. It is absolutely worth it! In fact, we should do more to recognize our Airmen, they deserve every trophy, every certificate and every "thank you" we as supervisors can muster.

In that ballroom, I saw a senior airman award winner walking tall with his bride on his arm hopping out of a limo beaming from ear to ear. I listened to a deployed spouse of a senior master sergeant gloat over how proud she was of her husband's award nomination. I even talked to the father of one of our award winning company grade officers. It was the first time anyone had ever told him how fantastic his son was at his profession.

You tell me, supervisors. From staff sergeant to colonel, did you spend enough time recognizing your people in 2011? Did you spend enough time on those quarterly and annual award packages?

I thought I did, but now I want to do more. After watching the reactions of the winners this year, I can guarantee you I will work harder to make sure our Airmen know how much we appreciate them.

Statistics say that 95 percent of New Year's resolutions will be broken. This year I have two that won't. My mess dress will fit better next year, and I will strive to be the strongest advocate of recognizing our Airmen. I hope you will join me!