Command Chief's Comments Published Feb. 4, 2012 By Command Chief Master Sgt. Karen D. Steven 126th Air Refueling Wing Scott AFB, Ill. -- As we become a leaner force, it is imperative that we work in an environment of excellence. It will become increasingly important for our military to be smarter and better fit in order to accomplish the mission of guarding and ensuring the freedom of our country and her allies. Therefore, excellence cannot be an exception; it must be the standard! Some may see current circumstances as a 'series of unfortunate events,' while others choose to view them as an opportunity. Whichever way you view change, we all have the ability to control certain outcomes. As enlisted members, we have many opportunities to excel and broaden our military knowledge through both military and civilian educational opportunities. The Air National Guard provides a broad range of Professional Military Education (PME) programs. However, for many people, taking advantage of these opportunities can be a challenge. Balancing deployments, civilian employment, and family responsibilities can be overwhelming. PME, both in-residence and by correspondence, enables us to maintain our standard of excellence. Along with PME, civilian education is another opportunity to broaden our knowledge and achieve our goal of excellence. The Air National Guard has highly encouraged each of us to obtain an associate's degree through the Community College of the Air Force. By attending technical school and PME, most of you are more than halfway there. But don't stop there; take the next step and get a bachelor's degree. Tuition assistance and other scholarship opportunities, along with the Illinois National Guard grant, make a bachelor's degree an obtainable goal. Not only are you improving yourself, but you are adding a highly trained and educated asset to your employer and the Air National Guard. It is very easy to become complacent in our everyday tasks, not only on the job but in life in general. If we do not strive to meet our goals, we find ourselves in a world of mediocrity, not excellence. Mediocrity does not work for you or the Air National Guard. We need to use these opportunities, not only to improve ourselves but also to lift up those around us through better mentoring, leadership, and advising. Set high goals, and with each success you'll find yourself growing as an Airman. As always, it's truly a pleasure to serve you, our most valuable asset, our Airmen!