We belong

Lt. Col. Charlie Norsky, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Charlie Norsky, 2nd Space Operations Squadron commander. (Courtesy photo)


As we have been celebrating the 70th birthday of our great Air Force, I took a moment to think about what it means to be in the Air Force. 

The thinking started when someone, again, asked me, “What do you do?” I responded as I usually do: “I’m in the Air Force.” 

I was not asked what organization I work for or who signs my paychecks, but given my answer, that’s exactly how you might think I heard the question. My seemingly disjointed response to the question about what I do was not a misunderstanding.  It was not an attempt to avoid discussing job specifics. 

What my response actually revealed was my deep rooted sense of belonging to an organization that transcends any specific task or job. Let me be clear, our specific jobs are important and we have trained hard to be able to accomplish them. However, the sense of belonging we feel is to a larger organization—our Air Force.

Think about how many times you have answered that question the same way I did: “I’m in the Air Force.” If you will, pause for a moment and reflect on what it is about our Air Force that gives rise to that sense of belonging. 

For me, it comes down to two key elements: the mission and the comradery, they bind our people.  Both of these elements set us apart from other vocations in a way that gives us a sense of belonging, a truly unique feeling to United States Airmen. 

Regardless of the specific mission our unit performs, within Team 5-0, we are focused on delivering global combat effects through our command of space and cyber systems.  That mission binds us.  It makes us feel, rightfully, as though we a part of something much bigger than ourselves or our specifics jobs. 

We all play a role in this larger mission, and what an opportunity it is to serve our country in a military that can fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.

As you embrace the significance of our mission, look around you and realize you are not alone. You are joined by an entire team of active duty, reservists, civilians and contractors who are all committed to the same mission.

The comradery this generates is something that we should not take for granted. Rather, it is something each of us must foster, at all levels of the chain of command. Comradery is not something that just happens. It is incumbent on all of us to identify ways to grow our sense of belonging in the Air Force through our comradery and community. 

Whether you are at the flight, squadron, group or wing level, each of you can foster comradery with your fellow Airmen.

Seventy years after the first Airmen were able to proclaim, “I’m in the Air Force,” I challenge each of you to think about what it means to you, to belong.  Be it the mission, the comradery, or something else—reflect on what makes you feel “in” our Air Force and embrace it.