The possibilities are endless

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Orville Wright once said, "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." Similarly, a statement published in the Scientific American Magazine in 1910 read, "Airplanes suffer from so many technical faults that it is only a matter of time before any reasonable man realizes that they are useless!" In 1911, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who became the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in 1918, said, "Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value." Even the United States Minister of Defense, Newton Baker, declared in 1921, "To throw bombs from an airplane will do as much damage as throwing bags of flour. It will be my pleasure to stand on the bridge of any ship while it is attacked by airplanes."

In this day and age, we realize how short-sighted those statements were as we marvel at modern aviation technology. Throughout the early stages of aircraft development no one could have dreamed we would be where we are today - living with technologies that boggle the mind.

It goes to show, you never know what the future holds.

As a new arrival to Goodfellow, I'm still unpacking and getting moved in. Just recently I discovered a box still unpacked from our last move. In it were several old files with documents from previous assignments. One document was a copy of my orders from my summer visit to Goodfellow as an ROTC cadet attending Operation Air Force.

Interestingly, part of that summer program included a briefing I received here in the 17th Contracting Squadron. Back then I thought I knew what I wanted to do in the Air Force but never imagined that someday I would have the opportunity to command that very same squadron. Once again, you never know what the future may hold.

It got me thinking that Forrest Gump's words of wisdom are ever so true, "Life is like a box of chocolates ..." You can't possibly imagine what tomorrow will bring and what opportunities may reveal themselves to you. It's clear that you have to do all you can today to prepare for those unexpected opportunities. Don't miss out on the chance of a lifetime because you weren't prepared. Likewise, never self-impose limitations on your personal capabilities or aspirations. You never know the magnitude of what you can accomplish and you can't predict where life will take you.

A perfect illustration of this is the late Gen. Courtney "Hicks" Hodges, a commander of the First United States Army from 1944-1949. He started out as a private and was later promoted to general in 1945 becoming the first private to ever achieve that rank. When he enlisted in 1906, I wonder if he ever pictured himself a general officer or aspired to rise to that rank. He obviously set his sights very high and took advantage of the career opportunities presented to him along the way.

It's been said that success comes when preparation intersects with opportunity (a paraphrasing of Henry Hartman's original quote). The question is, are you prepared for the opportunities that may unexpectedly present themselves in the future? Are you currently taking full advantage of the resources at your disposal to ensure that when the time comes, you get that promotion or job you've been trying for?

As a member of the profession of arms, whether military or government civilian, we have numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth at our disposal. Many of these programs are available to us at no cost, only time commitment. See what the education office, the library or Airman and Family Readiness have available. There are also an infinite number of other self-improvement resources available on the web. Research professional certifications applicable to your career field or look into learning a foreign language that interests you. Take the time to inventory your personal and professional goals and look for ways to optimize your marketability. You never know what the future may hold. The possibilities are endless if you're prepared.