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Mentor or “tormentor”….it’s all supervision

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- During your career you have heard what it is to be a leader and mentor, but at some point we may have needed that "tormentor." The "tormentor" can change our behavior when we become halfhearted.

I remember back in the day when my first supervisor was not only a mentor, but an excellent tormentor. When I strayed off course, he was right there to put me back on the right track. I can honestly say I owe it to him for helping me understand the Air Force way of life and how I should always be professional.

He made me understand the chain of command, as I had a hard time being told what to do by someone younger than I at the time, and he also sat down with me and made me understand the benefits the military offers. The pay was not that great at $448.80 per month, but he convinced me that with all the benefits we are afforded the Air Force is a great way of life. He taught me the core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, long before our Air Force formally implemented them.

Today, when I hear someone talking about leaving the Air Force, I reflect back to what my supervisor explained to me and I make it a point to explain the benefits to them. I'm proud to say I convinced some to rethink their intentions and they decided to stay. There were a couple who left the Air Force who came back to me later and wished they had paid closer attention to what I was explaining to them.

With the use of the Internet today, we can view all sorts of benefits the military has to offer. Supervisors at all levels should have a good understanding of our benefits to help our younger Airmen understand that the Air Force can provide an outstanding career.

As I approach my 30 year point and look back on my career, the most important career decision I made was due to my mentor and "tormentor" when he needed to be. He made it clear to me that we should never forget our number one priority is the protection of this great nation. The benefits are an added bonus.