HomeNewsArticle Display

Airman’s view: Mentoring Makes Our Air Force Better

This graphic depicts a pilot using a map to find his way as a metaphor for the relationship between a mentor and mentee.

This graphic depicts a pilot using a map to find his way as a metaphor for the relationship between a mentor and mentee. A mentor works as the map does, guiding a mentee on the right path towards the mentee's goal. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Tech. Sgt. Andrew Park)

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- Serving approximately 39 days a year and finding time around mission and training requirements to focus on career development can sometimes feel daunting to a traditional reservist. I believe it is an Airman’s responsibility to find a suitable mentor in their Air Force career, but it is also important that leadership provides opportunities for members to gain useful information.

Offering structured mentoring sessions is a good opportunity for Airmen to ask questions to leaders outside of the traditional mentor/mentee relationship. Two quotes that come to mind are “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and “knowledge is power.”

Many Airmen, inexperienced or experienced, can benefit from mentoring. Mentoring is defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing skills and knowledge that will enhance the mentee’s professional and personal growth.

The mentoring relationship is beneficial to both sides. The mentee is able to gain information and insight from an experienced mentor regarding a particular subject the mentor has extensive knowledge with. The mentor is personally rewarded by sharing knowledge with younger troops who are following in their footsteps.

The 94th Airlift Wing held their second speed-mentoring event July 14, 2019. Chief master sergeants and officers from a variety of career fields mentored dozens of Airmen. They discussed a variety of topics such as education, training, career growth, officer opportunities, and special programs. The speed-mentoring format was very efficient and allowed mentees to speak with five to six mentors within one hour. This format is a great way to allow Airmen to gain valuable information from many mentors within a short time frame. It is also very informative and beneficial for Airmen to gain guidance from different sources.

During the speed-mentoring session, I received valuable information pertaining to my career that I would not have gotten if I didn’t stop by to ask the questions. There is an abundance of options and resources available to military members. Simply knowing about the options available to me in my Air Force career was refreshing. I learned about re-enlistment contract options, requirements to become an officer, career advisor contacts, Community College of the Air Force credits, and re-training opportunities.

I strongly encourage each member of our Air Force to be open to mentoring. Whether you are a senior non-commissioned officer mentoring a junior enlisted member, a field officer mentoring a company grade officer, or a junior member being mentored by a senior member, our Air Force Reserve is better when mentoring relationships are cultivated. I hope the wing continues to offer speed-mentoring sessions so our Airmen can continue to receive guidance that helps us all remain reserve ready, reserve resilient and focused on reserve reform.