Act in the moment


Chief Master Sgt. Coy Crowe, 50th Operations Group chief enlisted manager. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher DeWitt)

After 24 years of service, I have learned many lessons. At any snapshot in time or any single moment leading up to chief master sergeant, it felt like a sprint. However, as I look back, it was truly a marathon. In hindsight, the completion of this marathon required a constant focus on the goal, seizing opportunities, a little luck and most importantly, my wingmen. The latter, no matter how insignificant an interaction may have been, might have been the most important to making chief and being here today. If you have ever studied the Chaos Theory, more specifically the Butterfly Effect, you know a very minor change at one point in time can alter the future on a large scale.

Here is an example I have experienced to prove this point. When I was an airman first class, I was married with two kids barely getting by. I owned my car, which meant no car payment, critical to making ends meet. One night I was going to work on a mid-shift, a drunk driver side swiped my car and took off. A fellow crewmember, a lieutenant, witnessed the accident and followed the culprit to his house and got his address and license plate information and relayed it to the police. The culprit had a suspended license and no insurance. Since I owned my car, I didn’t have uninsured motorist insurance. Already in a bad situation, I had a tow bill and a car in the shop and had very little money to repair it. Shortly after the accident, my technical sergeant invited me and my family over to his house for dinner. He picked us all up at my apartment and drove us over. After a nice meal, he handed me the keys to his car and said to keep it as long as my family needed it. You can imagine the relief of stress. After three weeks and a small loan, my car was fixed.

How could one small act of kindness, caring, just being a wingman make difference in a young man’s life? What if the lieutenant wasn’t at the accident or didn’t track down the culprit so I could get restitution? In the moment, I am sure the lieutenant and technical sergeant were just doing what they thought was right. The impact it had on my family and my attitude towards the Air Force was profound.

Over time, through a divorce, single parenting, discipline issues and countless other struggles, I can say with confidence that my wingmen shaped my path to today.

How we act in the moment will have drastic impacts on the future and our Air Force.

A single phone call of support to a struggling member could be the difference in averting tragedy and setting the person on a path of recovery.

Think about the possible futures of that member, their family, work center and all the lives that will now be touched by that member because someone acted in the moment. Based on how I was supported during struggles, I have done my best to pay it forward, creating a domino effect of support and altering many other futures.

In turn, I am sure they have done the same, making a single act exponentially positive. When the time comes, will you be a wingman, will you act in the moment?