Control your own destiny

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Controlling your own destiny is a term often associated with sports meaning a team only has to win to make the playoffs. In life, "making the playoffs" can take on a different meaning - progression in your career or even your life.

Everyone loves to use the phrase, "We're undermanned," but in some instances, it doesn't have to be this way.

The stone cold fact is we lose a multitude of Airmen every year, whether it's due to vehicle-related fatalities, off-duty mishaps or UCMJ violations. In most cases, especially in regards to the UCMJ, these losses are preventable.

In my short time in the U.S. Air Force, I've seen quite a few Airmen who were great at their jobs lose the honor and privilege of being an Airman because they chose not to control their own destiny when it came to maintaining standards and making proper decisions.

Think about the number of people we lose each year to infractions such as driving under the influence or sexual assault. Those people ultimately made the choice to break the rules, but where was someone who could've confiscated their car keys or recommended a cab? Where was the person who should've said, "You need to quit feeding that Airman shots," or "It's probably not a good idea for you to go back to that Airman's room."? 

I'm not saying we all need to be glorified babysitters, but we do need to be better wingmen. What happened to having the common decency and courtesy to be there for someone when they need the help? What happened to respecting your fellow Airmen - the ones who fight alongside you against the Global War on Terror every day? What happened to our integrity - doing the right thing even when no one else is looking? 

For the Airmen who choose to tempt fate by making the wrong choices, you are not invincible. It's only a matter of time before you choose to take the wheel intoxicated and you end up killing or injuring yourself or someone else. It's only a matter of time before someone reports you for encroaching upon their right of consent. 

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has ever been affected by an incident involving a drunken driver or a sexual assault. Imagine the grief you could potentially cause the next time liquid courage tempts you to drive. The next time you're feeding an Airman drinks in an attempt to capitalize on a negative situation, ask yourself, "Would I want this to happen to my sister, brother, mother or friend?" 

We all need to take a moment and realize we're all part of the same team - "One team, one fight," and if we keep hurting each other or ourselves, we'll never accomplish the mission at hand. 

Control your own destiny. Continue winning and progress forward in this fight we all share.