Don't just show up

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, delivers his remarks during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, delivers his remarks during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Colonel Ken Rizer, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, presents Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, with a painting of a "Wild Weasel" F-105 during Brinkley's retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. F-105 #62-4424 "Crown 7" was the aircraft assigned to Major John Revak, pilot, and Major Stan Goldstein, electronic warfare officer, of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Korat, Thailand. These brave and dedicated crews purposely drew fire in advance of the strike force in order to locate, intimidate or destroy enemy defenses.  Rizer compared Brinkley's dedication to doing "the right thing" despite personal or professional consequences to the mission of the "Wild Weasles."  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Colonel Ken Rizer, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, presents Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, with a painting of a "Wild Weasel" F-105 during Brinkley's retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. F-105 #62-4424 "Crown 7" was the aircraft assigned to Major John Revak, pilot, and Major Stan Goldstein, electronic warfare officer, of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Korat, Thailand. These brave and dedicated crews purposely drew fire in advance of the strike force in order to locate, intimidate or destroy enemy defenses. Rizer compared Brinkley's dedication to doing "the right thing" despite personal or professional consequences to the mission of the "Wild Weasles." (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Colonel Ken Rizer, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, presents Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, with a medal during Brinkley's retirement ceremony June 8, 2012.  Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Colonel Ken Rizer, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, presents Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, with a medal during Brinkley's retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, clasps a necklace around his wife's neck during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012.  The necklace served to commemorate Mrs. Brinkley's service as an Air Force spouse.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, clasps a necklace around his wife's neck during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. The necklace served to commemorate Mrs. Brinkley's service as an Air Force spouse. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, presents his wife with a bouquet of flowers during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, presents his wife with a bouquet of flowers during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, presents his mother with a bouquet of flowers during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, presents his mother with a bouquet of flowers during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

The Andrews First Sergeants Council renders a salute to Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, in the "Diamond Formation" during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

The Andrews First Sergeants Council renders a salute to Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, in the "Diamond Formation" during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, leads the audience in the Airman's Creed during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief, leads the audience in the Airman's Creed during his retirement ceremony June 8, 2012. Brinkley served more than 28 years in the Air Force, many of which were as a First Sergeant. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)

11th Wing shield

11th Wing shield

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- As I exit the ranks of our active duty military, I want to encourage each of you to run your race with precision, dedication and unbridled passion.

The bottom line is that life is not a dry run and you only get one chance to have a lasting impact. Our nation demands that each one of you who serve in uniform or civilian attire in the defense of our nation take this charge seriously.
 
The only reason I can transition to this next chapter of my life is because you are primed and ready to do what many have done before you. Simply stated - you have answered your nation's call to defend those that will never know who you are or typically never say thank you.

Let me also take the time to say thank you to the 'Chief's Own' for allowing me to walk this leg of my journey alongside you.

We've been through a lot. We've laughed together, comforted each other when our comrades in arms gave the full measure of their service to our country and have stood together on the back of a C-17 and greeted the wounded as they returned from combat.

Through it all, I left my home 28 years ago afraid that I would be alone, and more afraid of not knowing what I would have missed if I would not have joined each of you in our Air Force. I know now that I left my immediate family 28 years ago and instead ended up gaining an entirely new family.

Lastly, many people out there are willing to do all they can to disrupt our democracy. As military members must have an unflinching resolve to ensure that our military is trained and postured to take the fight to those that who dare challenge America.

That was my call and it is my hope that I represented you well as your chief. If I didn't, please charge it to my head and not my heart because my heart will always be for our people and their families.
 
Now that same charge is yours and you can't just show up, I need each of you to attack each day to see how you can be a difference maker.

I believe in you and know that there are still tough days ahead as we travel the globe to protect freedom, however you can do. If you ever need an old chief to come back and stand by your side, I will keep my powder dry and uniform ready. May God bless you all.

Your wingman, Chief Brinkley