“Where else would you rather be…than right here, right now”
By Maj. Kurt Schmidbauer, 436th Comptroller Squadron commander / Published January 03, 2017
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
As a young man growing up around Buffalo, New York, in the 1980s and early 1990s, I took many early leadership cues from two of the greatest external influences in my life at that point…President Ronald Reagan and Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame Head Coach Marv Levy.
While I learned the importance of sharing a vision, effectively communicating and maintaining balance from President Reagan, Coach Levy’s famous (at least for Bills fans) quote “Where else would you rather be…than right here, right now?” has been one of the strongest guiding principles that I have taken with me on my 23-year Air Force journey. Over the years I continue to ask myself this question from time to time, to remind myself why I serve and the answer always comes back “nowhere.”
Coach Levy used his quote to inspire his team to shut out negative distractions regarding job assignments, weather, playing in the second-smallest NFL market, pay, etcetera and instead focused on their strengths and the positive aspects of living in Buffalo and playing on a highly successful team. As Team Dover members, both military and civilian, Coach Levy’s words should serve to have the same effect since we are also on a world-class team, but may be faced with some of the same distractions. Would you rather be somewhere else right now? If so, why? What do you expect to receive from the “Dover experience?” Is something missing, or distracting you from meeting personal or professional goals?
As the wing’s chief financial officer, I am particularly interested in the answers to these questions because part of my job is ensure the wing continues to have all of the funding required to successfully execute its mission and make Dover AFB a great place to live and work. Recently, a combination of a favorable financial climate and hard work have allowed us to make great improvements around the base. Among those hundreds of improvements, we successfully gained an additional $650 thousand for C-17A Globemaster III maintenance stands, $835 thousand for added anti-terrorism force protection measures, and more than $2 million for quality of life improvements from our headquarters. Are we still missing something that will make Dover AFB a better place to live and work? Well, the answer to that question, as well as the solution, comes from you!
Despite some current constraints, fiscal year 2017 is shaping up to be another banner year for funding. I would like to challenge each and every one to identify those things that will make your squadron, group or wing even safer, more productive or just plain better. Once you have them identified, pass them along to your leadership and let’s see if we can make them reality. Dream big…the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask. On the other hand, you may be surprised how easy it is to get a “yes.”
In the end, the answer to the question “Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?” lies entirely within you. You have the power to make Dover AFB your best assignment!