Why I wear the uniform

Airman Adrianna Barelas, 3rd Space Operations Squadron

Airman Adrianna Barelas, 3rd Space Operations Squadron


Sometimes we may ask ourselves why is it we wear the uniform. What makes us so different from everyone else? In everyday life, we see people wear uniforms because they are identified as a certain individual. Uniforms tell people not only does that certain individual belong to a certain group, but they have skills other people do not.


For example, a police officer can’t wear their uniform if they have not completed their specific qualification training, and similarly, a doctor can’t wear their uniform until they earn their doctoral degree. You wouldn’t want a police officer doing open heart surgery on someone, just as you wouldn’t want a doctor trying to arrest the bad guy.


To me, the uniform I wear means a lot. No matter your rank, officer or enlisted, we all signed up for one thing - to defend our country and everyone in it. We all raised our right hand and took the oath of enlistment, and let not just ourselves, but everyone around us and the people that served before us, know we are proud to serve our great nation.

No matter what job we have, we all have the courage to put our life on the line for others. 

To me, the uniform is a sense of belonging. When I get asked why I wear the uniform, I don’t say it is because I am forced to; it is because I want to. When I wear the uniform, I don’t feel alone. Every day it proves to me I don’t care just for myself, but for others, whether it be civilians or my wingmen.

In order to thrive and prosper, we in the Air Force must work together. No matter rank, ethnicity, race, age or gender, we are all after one mission - to Fly, Fight, and Win.

The moment I joined the military I wanted to better myself. I wanted discipline, and a structured lifestyle, and that is just what we have. My Air Force family and I have expectations set for us by those appointed over us, civilians and even ourselves. We raise expectations for ourselves in order to fight harder, be stronger and lead ourselves to victory.

There are many branches and countries, but to wear the uniform I wear everyday, it proves I am in the military, but more importantly, and specifically, the world’s greatest Air Force. When I wear my uniform, I know I am a part of something bigger than myself.

It is ironic to me my mother says she is proud of me and everything that I have done, or, when I go into stores and get thanked for my service, when in reality, it is a great honor to know when I wear my uniform I am protecting my loved ones, my friends and those surrounding me; there is not a single thing I would change about it.

The Air Force is a life-shaping institution, and the uniform is proof that we are a part of it. You must earn the uniform you wear everyday. You aren’t just given the uniform, you must want it. The demands and opportunities inherent to the Air Force gives you the chance to develop as an individual and as a wingman. You can’t just buy the uniform at your favorite clothing store because the uniform stands for something. It means the person wearing it represents service before self, integrity first and excellence in all they do.

We must be motivated. We must be willing to fail to pick ourselves back up. With our experiences in the military, we build character, and it is all done in our uniforms. Not everyone deserves to wear it, or even can.

When I was going through basic training, one of my wingmen was medically discharged, and she cried for days straight. She wanted to be a part of the one percent of people who can proudly say they serve the U.S. Air Force. Not everyone can wear the uniform, but those who do have honor, accountability, patriotism and dedication to what they stand for and what we salute the flag for.


Succeed or fail, we all wear the same uniform symbolizing we stand as one in order to accomplish the mission. I say “we”, because there is no individualism. Of course, there are individual reasons as to why people joined the military, but we all wear the same uniform and we all are efficient in providing power to the United States. At the end of day, it’s not why I wear the uniform, but what I have to offer while wearing it.  I know that I will never give up and I will stand proud for my country. So help me God.