Commentary by Lt. Col. Trent Tuthill
50th Mission Support Group deputy commander
As schedules get busy, projects never end and taskings continue to flow. The level of stress can build. The Air Force has many terms for how we manage and cope with daily activities, but through the years, I have always tried to put all our various daily activities into three categories. Force, faith and family — the three Fs as I refer to them now. My first squadron commander mentored me on “balance” and I questioned his logic and explanation at the time, but, I’ve found his counsel to be true. The challenge we all face is finding the right balance. My family and I continually attempt to balance the three Fs. It is a never ending challenge, but as Airmen, we have all the resources to find the right balance.
Force refers to the Air Force and all the great aspects that go along with the way of life we have embarked upon. Force is that long deployment, unexpected Stripes for Exceptional Performers promotion, the joy of finding out you have made the next rank or the disappointment of finding out you have a good chance of making it next year. Force is the extreme amount of dedication each and every member of the team puts into their job everyday. Force is what keeps the planes and satellites flying, officer and enlisted performance reports flowing to Air Force Personnel Center, vehicles in commission, roads paved and clear of snow, water running and the never ending list of tasks the superb men and women of Team Schriever and the best Air Force in the world accomplish routinely everyday.
Faith is a belief in something bigger than yourself. Faith is being loyal to your duty as an Airman. Faith does not have to be religious based, but it can, depending upon your individual beliefs. Faith is trusting your supervisor has your best interests in mind, trusting our senior leaders are making the right decision or having a general understanding that if you do your job and make good decisions, things will work out. Faith is knowing your wingman will be there for you in times of need. Faith is having an understanding of the larger Air Force perspective and knowing your day-to-day job is vitally important to fighting the enemy in any number of places around the world.
Family are those people you love and cherish. Although you might not get to see them everyday, they are constantly in your thoughts. Family is your wife, husband, children, parents, best friend, squadron members, pet and the list goes on. Family is there for you, to help you through the tough times and to celebrate those special occasions. Family is your co-workers and supervisors who train you, sponsor who welcomes you to a new base or those life-long friends you make at each different assignment. Family also encompasses enjoying your favorite recreational activity or hobby with friends and neighbors. Family is relaxing with a child or friend after a long day of work and finding out what went on in their day.
In my simple way, the key is finding the correct balance between force, faith and family. There is no magic formula or one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual needs to determine what is important to them and then create the right balance. The priority order of the three Fs will shift from time to time. If you find the right balance, at the end of the day, you will not only be extremely proud of what you have done in the Air Force, but proud of where you are in life and eager to take on any challenge or opportunity that comes your way. Take the time and effort to find the right balance and you will be happy with the outcome.