Embrace obstacles, enjoy career you have
By Lt. Col. Scott Lew, 570th Global Mobility Readiness Squadron
/ Published August 28, 2014
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
If you're at all like me, then you're a planner. I try to have a plan for everything. I'm the guy who plans out his clothes the night before so he doesn't have to do it in the morning. I've already thought about the next vehicle we're going to buy even though we don't need one.
Similarly, I even tried to plan out my career in the Air Force. If your experiences are like mine, then you've probably found out things don't always go as planned. In fact, for me, that's turned out to be most of the time. It's especially true when it comes to my Air Force career. My plan for my career began to fall apart the day I told my Dad I wanted to join the Navy to fly the F-14. Like many kids my age at the time I saw "Top Gun" in the movie theater and from there on out all I wanted to do was fly the F-14 Tomcat.
My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be joining the Navy and that if I wanted to fly, I needed to join the Air Force. My plan to become a pilot upon college graduation hit a snag when the Air Force realized in the mid-90's that it had too many pilots and cut back pilot training.
Luckily for me, the Air Force needed navigators. I figured if I couldn't be Maverick then maybe I could be Goose. The Goose call sign didn't pan out when I tracked toward airlift aircraft out of navigator training and was fortunate enough to fly C-130s.
At that point I thought things were going well. I worked in the duty sections I wanted to work in and enjoyed where my career was taking me. I eventually moved on to another base and another unit, and things continued to go as planned.
My career took an unexpected turn when my commander offered me an opportunity out of the blue to work in another unit. After a little soul searching, I accepted the offer and tried something different. As a result of that decision, the Air Force sent me to get a Master's Degree, eventually landing me at Travis Air Force Base in the 621st Contingency Response Wing.
After three years as an operations officer, I was expecting a permanent change of station and a staff assignment at Headquarters Air Mobility Command. Instead, I was selected for command of another squadron within the Contingency Response Wing. None of those assignments had been planned, but they have certainly been rewarding.
Even though my career has taken unexpected turns, it has offered me opportunities to see the world, work with great people, and lead exceptional Airmen. Despite where you are in your Air Force career, if it's gone as planned, count yourself lucky. If you're like me, and you've experienced some unexpected curves, embrace the opportunities the Air Force affords you. Enjoy those curve balls and make the most of your service to the country and your time in the Air Force.