One of the most rewarding things we as leaders get to do is see our teammates succeed and receive promotions. Regardless of occupation (military or otherwise) seeing our colleagues grow in their careers is very fulfilling.

I was honored on Sunday to attend the promotion ceremony of Major Samuel (Sam) Nop, Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Sam used to work for me at Marine Air Group 49 as a Corporal of Marines.

At one point, Sam came to me and let me know he wanted to join the Air Guard. To paraphrase him from his promotion speech, “It felt like I was asking Col Lipson if it was OK to leave the military to join the circus!”

I knew this was a very difficult decision for Sam. I talked through the options with him. The benefits the Air Guard had to offer were hard to pass by and ultimately, I knew this was the best career route for him to take. I hated to lose Sam; he was a great Marine. Joining the Air Guard was the right path for Sam, and importantly his family.

We as leaders need to recognize, some of our most talented teammates may need to find other roads than the ones we are on. In letting them take these steps, we make them better.

Careers have a funny way of evolving and many times the circle comes full. I’ve had a chance to work with Sam’s Air Guard unit; they’ve got mad skillz.

Bravo Zulu to Major Nop! I am immensely proud of the professional you have become. You are a cyber warrior, a Patriot and most importantly an awesome husband and father!

Semper Fidelis!