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What impact are you making?

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- How long have you been at Osan? How much longer do you have until you depart Osan?

Ask most people these questions and they know the answers without hesitation -- they roll off the tongue as if spring-loaded. But rather than focusing on the quantity of time at Osan, I want you to consider the quality of your time.

To me, the best way to determine the quality of your time is to ask yourself these questions: Will anyone miss me when I've PCS'd? Will anyone even notice that I've left? Too often we tend to dwell on the things we can't do at Osan. "I can't have a car, I can't live off base, I can't see my family," etc. Rare is the person who focuses on the positive impact he or she can have on the mission and on his or her fellow Airmen.

Now, many of you may say, "I'm just an Airman ... what can I possibly do to affect things at Osan?" Fact is, it is impossible for you not to make an impact in some way. You will either add to or diminish the happiness of others during the short time you're here -- it's impossible to do neither. Think about it ... you have a circle of influence that no other person shares completely. What's your influence on that circle?

Yes, our mission is critical and we are expected to give 110 percent every day in getting that mission done -- it's why we're here. But consider this: no matter how hard you work, no matter what improvements you make to your job, someone is going to come along after you and either build on, change or scrap what you've done. When I depart this summer, a new commander will come in and put his own imprint on the 51st Mission Support Squadron, with new priorities, new vision and a new perspective.

So within a few short months many will have forgotten the specific programs and issues I worked. Even the accomplishments of the squadron will fade in time, and that's not all bad ... we don't want units to become stagnant, resting on the laurels of the past.
Instead of our programs and trophies standing the test of time, our relationships should stand the test of time. When your fellow Airmen look back on this tour, what will they remember about you?

Were you a positive influence on their lives, on their families and on their careers? Was anyone changed because of the time they spent with you? It is the relationships we build that will endure long after we have left Korean airspace.

Invest in others! Mentor, befriend, lead and set the example for others within your circle of influence. You can feel sorry for yourself and focus on the negatives, but here's the thing: it ain't about you.

It's about others and the impact your actions and attitudes will have on them. Osan is a unique environment; we live, work, eat and play together, and do it under an intense microscope.

Be there for someone. The first sergeant and supervisor can't always be there ... but you can. You have a circle of influence. It's amazing how time flies when you focus on helping others and not on yourself. Caring and compassion does make a difference ... try it!

No matter how successful a career you have, eventually the Air Force is going to ask you to leave. You better have something else in your life to turn to for fulfillment. Hopefully you have spent your career building relationships with your family, co-workers, supervisors and subordinates that will last well beyond your time in uniform. It's never too late to start.

How will you remembered? Will anyone notice when you're gone? Now is the time to leave your mark on someone's life.