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A courageous step ‘I am going to do what I said I would do’

  • Published
  • By By Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Trundle, 501st Combat Support Wing command chief

Pathfinders, as we start the New Year, let’s set our sights on being courageous. The great thing about the military is all the incredible possibilities afforded to you, as long as you are willing to take them when offered.

Regrettably, I have witnessed missed opportunities that range from turned down leadership positions to shrugged off special duty assignments. I get it, being out front or making a career change is difficult. Simply put, it takes courage! A quick personal story to this point.

Back in 2008 (yeah, yeah…so long ago), Master Sgt. Pickett, my shirt at the time, was doing her best to mentor me about what it meant to wear the Diamond. I can recall to this day how she took time out of her busy schedule to encourage me to step away from my primary job as a firefighter and join the proud senior non-commissioned officers who decided to wear the distinctive chevron. I was afraid to take the leap, anxious that it would stifle my career, and slow down promotions; but even more so, I was nervous about filling such an important role.

It took another two years before I committed to becoming a First Sergeant. I had been a Master Sgt. for a couple years at this point and was eligible to test for advancement to senior master sergeant (yes, we used to take a test). Although I knew my chances were slim, my score sheet indicated that the following year I would have a great chance at making it. Wow, here I am about to PCS and in the process make a career change in the face of an almost guaranteed promotion just 365 days away if I stayed on the current path.

I remember my Chief inviting me to his office at that time and he said, “Josh, if you want, we can pull your first sergeant assignment.” There it was, the easy way out. He was going to pick up the phone and make it happen. An overwhelming feeling of obligation came over me. I cannot do that, I made a commitment. My reply, “I am going to do what I said I would do.” I had no idea the doors that decision would open at the time.

You see, that personally courageous moment standing in the Chief’s office led to where I am today. I could have never known that just a year later I would meet my future boss during a deployment. Taking that opportunity led to a chance meeting with Col. Brian Filler, who was a major at the time and now our wing commander. A relationship that began over a decade ago was the spark that lit the way to becoming your command chief.

So Pathfinders, when you have opportunities in front of you don’t be afraid to take the leap. I encourage you to be be courageous...You never know where it will take you.Pathfinders, as we start the New Year, let’s set our sights on being courageous. The great thing about the military is all the incredible possibilities afforded to you, as long as you are willing to take them when offered.