A Great Season

Maj. James O'Quinn, 354th Contracting Squadron commander.

Maj. James O'Quinn, 354th Contracting Squadron commander.

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- With the completion of the Super Bowl another football season comes to an end and this makes me sad.

You see, to me, football is the only sport and I've often thought that I learned everything I need to know about life from the game of football: The coaches, teammates, opponents and experiences from the game have been in integral in both shaping me as a person and the career path I've chosen.

As I contemplate the finish of yet another fantastic football season, I can't help but recognize that football and the Air Force have a lot in common. Let's take a brief look at just a few key areas:

Mission - Once you get past the pee wee level in football the focus quickly turns to winning. Off season weight training and conditioning, pre-season practices two and three times a day and endless hours of conditioning are all directed at one common goal - winning! In the Air Force, we attend professional military training, functional training, on-the-job training and we work long hours until we get the job done. Whether your job has you focused on the mission of the wing or the mission of your duty section, all the sub-missions merge at the Air Force mission of fighting our nation's wars ... and winning!

Teamwork - While the star quarterback often steals the glory, if it weren't for the reliable offensive line that protects him and the strong defense that keeps the other team from scoring, the team could not win. In our Air Force every job is important, regardless whether you are officer, enlisted, civilian or contractor. Whether you are a trigger puller or you prepare the meals that feed our late-night maintainers, what you do matters and is integral to the success of our team - so for the sake of the team, be the best you can be.

Dedication - Football and military service both require high levels of sacrifice and commitment. While football requires a lot, our service requires more. Deployments are becoming more frequent and longer in length. We are often called to venture into harm's way in foreign lands requiring you to be able to depend on your teammate (or wingman) to do his or her job so that you can do yours. Unfortunately from time to time we have to make cuts - not everyone has the right stuff to serve. If you aren't dedicated you will hurt your team. In football this could result in losing a game- in the Air Force it could result in much worse. Failure in the Air Force can cost precious lives, multi-million dollar assets and taxpayer dollars. Our dedicated members ensure that we do not fail.

Finally, playing football and serving in our Air Force are both choices ... I volunteered to serve just like you did. This is noteworthy because our country has been at war for 16 years straight and we are still an "all-volunteer force." We serve because we choose to. Icemen, while we now have a long seven months before football season returns, we can take pride in knowing that we serve on a championship team every day - Team Eielson!