This excerpt comes from Leadership from 30,000 Feet: Attributes of Effective Leaders as told by Five Air Force Generals, an anthology by Two Blue Aces’ contributors. To read the rest of this story and many others like it you can purchase your own copy on Amazon!
Title: Rectifying a Colossal Mistake
Author: Tom "Honez" Jones
“It is critical to understand and appreciate the situations your airmen and their families find themselves facing. Sometimes these situations are of their own making; however, there are times when the individual is not responsible for the difficulty they face.” —General (Ret) Bill Looney, USAF
Imagine you’re an Air Force civilian (someone who works for the Air Force but isn’t in uniform) and you’ve dutifully served your country for years.
On a day like any other, you receive an ordinary envelope in the mail. You open the envelope to find a single ordinary letter from the Air Force. On that letter, you scan the normal introductory lines until your eyes read this extraordinary line: “You can choose to pay your $100,000 debt by personal check or have it deducted from your monthly pay.”
Incredulous, you reread the letter from the beginning, but more slowly this time. Surely, you must have missed something. There’s no way the Air Force is asking you to pay them back.
In 2013, this unfortunate circumstance befell dozens—if not up to one hundred—Air Force civilians under my charge as vice commander of the US Air Forces in Europe. Their “debt” ranged from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but the affected civilians were upset, confused, and hurt.
How did it happen?
To read the rest of this story and many others like it you can purchase your own copy on Amazon!