It's not my job

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- "It's not my job." Four simple words that should be considered a four-letter word.

Think about these words for a moment and ask yourself what purpose they serve. While you are at it, remind yourself why you serve. It should not take long to sense this phrase' s incompatibility with the mission.

Growing up around Detroit, I saw first-hand the negative effects of these words within the auto industry. There were actually two sides to the expression. The first was "you do your job and I'll do mine. It is not my job to do anything more." The second was "don't work harder than the minimal standard. None of us gain with the line moving any faster or efficiently." I lost track of the number of people I knew who were just fine with this take on life. To them, jobs were just something that paid your bills; life was what occurred outside of the factory walls. Considering the struggles of that city and the auto industry, I wonder how many of my former neighbors see the correlation between "it's not my job" and the impact it has had on their livelihood. Sure we need them, but our nation deserves better. Those who serve understand that.

We raised our right hand to defend a nation, but we never said where or how. We just said we would. You do not serve a nation by keeping the same line moving the same way. You do it by doing whatever it takes, at any hour and at any cost. The minimum standard was what we met to be accepted at the recruiting station, and we proudly hold ourselves to a higher standard from that point forward.

Since October 2001, our aero medical evacuation system has moved over 94,000 of our brothers and sisters as patients. Nearly 19,000 of these soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen were severely injured in battle. If that doesn't make you reflect, think about the nearly 6,500 people who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Our nation required more, and every one of them answered the call believing it was their job.

So give those words some thought. Are you out there setting the pace, or are you keeping the line from moving any faster? As we raise the bar higher you will find we also stand taller, more proud of those around us.

You answered our nation's call.

It IS your job.

Embrace it. Welcome it. Serve with honor.