You don't have to be ONE OF to STAND WITH!
By Senior Master Sgt. Chris Underwood, 129th Rescue Wing Human Resource Advisor
/ Published April 15, 2010
MOFFETT FEDERAl AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Hello, my name is Chris Underwood. I'm a 6-foot-2-inch tall, 245-pound Black man. I was born and raised in the small southern town of Chadbourn, North Carolina. My grandmother, a midwife, delivered me on her couch, and I grew up under her tutelage in a Southern Baptist church.
What are your names, races, ethnicities, sexes, religions? Ma'am, I see that you're a Persian female, and I'm guessing you're 5 foot 4 inches tall and weigh between 110 and 115 pounds. You say that your religion is Muslim.
Sir, I see that you're a Caucasian male, and I'm guessing you're 6 feet tall and weigh approximately 195 pounds. You say your religion is Buddhism. Sir, I also see that you were educated at an Ivey League College.
I appreciate the diversity and leadership that you both bring to our organization. Our organization is better because of you. May I stand with you?
Hello, my name is Chris Underwood and I'm a senior master sergeant in the California Air National Guard. I'm a 19-year veteran of the United States Air Force.
Sir, by the rank you wear on your sleeves, I see that you're a Junior Enlisted member (Airman, Senior Airman, Technical Sergeant, etc.) in the Air Force. I appreciate your commitment to duty. You are the backbone and motor of our organization. Thank you for your service.
Ma'am, by the rank you wear on your collars I see that you're an officer (Lieutenant, Captain, Major, etc.) and have the potential to be a General one day in the ANG. Although you're a commissioned officer and I'm a senior non-commissioned officer, and as such we have our own proud traditions as officers and enlisted service members, we share the same common core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do as members of the Air Force and the ANG.
These common threads hold us together as one, and our diversity and individual differences are what allow us to contribute the best of ourselves to this organization. This is the proven strength of the ANG.
I see some of our comrades from other armed services as well from the local community standing over there. Let's join them and let them know that as Airmen we never let our brothers and sisters stand alone, and that we appreciate their support as well as their service.
As we continue to push the Flywheel and "raise the bar" that the ANG office of Cultural Leadership and Development has set for us, continue the Flywheel Momentum and let's deliver on our promise: Interweave these points on your agendas for all meetings and monthly roll-calls.
- The way in which the ANG is sensitive to all Airmen around us as we conduct our operations and requirements to live out our core values.
-"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And, because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." - Helen Keller "If not you, then who?"
- Do you act rightly with Moral Courage? "You don't have to be one to stand with!"
This is our Flywheel Challenge to you: Ask yourself: "What did I do today to push on the Flywheel?"
- As a leader, are you reliable? Do you support your Airmen in moments that matter and are you there for them when it counts?
- How well do you understand the needs of your Airmen and the degree to which you must earn their trust and respect to stand by and with them?
Remember, you don't have to Be One of to stand with! As an Airman, I don't have to look like you, think, be or speak like you... to stand with and advocate for you! As Airmen, fellow service members, and community partners, regardless of rank or position, we are Better Together than We Are Alone!