If You Want To Go Far
By Cadet Joshua Joyce
One of my favorite sayings is an old African maxim: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In pre-colonial Africa, traveling had many hazards and dangers. In the wild, you could face fierce predators looking for their next meal. You could encounter other hostile tribes. You might contract all different types of diseases and sickness from parasites, to yellow fever, to malaria. Facing these dangers alone was perilous. Because of this, it was understood that there was strength in numbers. When you had to travel far, you needed others. You looked out for the men and women beside you and they looked out for you. To do any less could mean death.
ROTC is built on a similar concept of viewing yourself not as an individual, but as part of team, always looking out for each other. We call this the wingman concept. You will face many difficulties in training as a GMC that will challenge you to use this concept. Field Training will probably be the hardest 28 days you’ve experienced, but it will be filled with opportunities to practice this idea. Yet, even knowing the wingman concept, I saw too many cadets gunning hard for awards, limelight, and recognition. They cared little about those around them. They wanted to go fast and hard. None of them did well.
If your uniform looks as sharp as it can be, but the rest of your flight looks sloppy, I’m going to blame you first. If, at Field Training, your stuff is glistening and inspection perfect in your room, and everyone else in your room’s stuff is horrible, you’re going to be the belle of the ball with your Field Training Officer. And if you’re willing to sacrifice the cadets around you to look good, you’re missing what it means to have the honor of bearing the name United States Air Force on your chest.
So if you want to go fast and hard, knock yourself out. But if you want to go far…
- Learn more about SLU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 207