SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --
From time to time, I look back over the 25 years I have served and reflect how I have changed over the years, from Airman 1st Class through Chief. I think about what being an Airman 1st Class or Senior Airman was like back in the mid-1990’s and what it must be like now with a different optic. Sometimes I think about my time as a Staff Sergeant and Tech Sergeant--my “know it all years”…which was hardly the case. The interesting thing is, it hasn’t changed for me in a drastic way in decades at its core--of why I remain serving.
We commit to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We are all willing to defend our country, possibly with our lives, without reservation if required. Whether you are a general officer, wing commander, lieutenant, chief master sergeant, or an Airman, it is the same for all, period. Additionally, this is something less than one percent of all Americans will ever do. Our willingness to do this separates us, this is not just a job and it never will be.
“They knew not the day or hour nor the manner of their passing when far from home they were called to join that great band of heroic Airmen that went before.”
- Air Force Memorial in Washington D.C.
When I talk with Airmen, I try to thread this into conversations when I can. After all, who better to understand this than the all-volunteer force we have? Our brothers and sisters in the profession of arms all understand this and never lose sight of why exactly we wear this uniform, correct? Unfortunately, this may not be entirely true. From time to time we all may lose some perspective as why we do what we do. Life happens, and we all deal with stressors and can become unfocused or sidetracked.
Regardless, all of us have committed to this lifestyle, whether it is for four years or 30, our commitment must underpin what we do in our line of work. Our level of commitment needs to be 100 percent, you cannot give more. Many have sacrificed for our country before we committed ourselves. As we approach Memorial Day, I challenge each of you to think about your story of service and why you initially decided to serve your country, and more importantly why do you still serve today? Are you “pulled” or attracted to the profession of arms or are you having to “push” yourself? Hopefully, it is the former and if not, why not? What drives you? I’ll share some observations I gained from talking to others and my own as well.
Some serve because it’s something bigger than themselves. Some have said they serve for their family’s name, or to honor their parents, grandparents, sisters or brothers who may have served, or their Air Force teammates. Others have said it’s for those who gave their lives for our country. Whatever your motive, it lays in the reason you are willing to sacrifice so much. I serve because there is no better country than the United States - it is not perfect, but it is ours. I want to help others grow and share my experiences, and the experiences I have learned from others - I have had many, both good and bad and have learned from both equally.
Always remember why you wear the uniform, why you commit to service and why you do the best job you can every day. By doing so, you honor our country, your family, friends and teammates. This will define you, and what defines you a step deeper is you are a member of the profession of arms, the less than one percent and how you do this will continue to make this the best Air Force in the world.