Every Airman is Important!
By Chief Master Sgt. David L. Wright, 117th Mission Support Group Superintendent
/ Published June 12, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Operation Desert Storm kicked off in January 1991. Ever since then, for over 25 years, the United States Air Force and the Air Reserve Components, working side by side with Joint and Coalition Forces, have been involved in just about every region of the world. These components have been providing what the Air Force does best with Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power. Our Air Force is truly the world's greatest Air Force. I feel we have achieved this by maintaining the same enduring basic core missions that have been engrained in our culture since the birth of the Air Force in 1947.
You have probably read about these five core missions before in some of your professional military education. Today we call them: (1) Air and Space Superiority, (2) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, (3) Rapid Global Mobility, (4) Global Strike, and (5) Command and Control. If you refer to the 2017 Air Force Posture Statement, you'll see that 25 years ago we had 946,000 Total Force Airmen and today we are down to just 664,000.
Many people would wonder immediately how we are able to still maintain our greatness with fewer Airmen, aging aircraft, less of budget, and more demanding missions than we had 25 years ago. If you are a true Airman, you'll know how we continue in an admirable manner. We are excellent in all we do because of how we develop our Airmen and our Air Force teams to fly, fight and win. The education and training we provide to our force is the very foundation of our airpower supremacy. Each Airman plays a significant role in the success by becoming and remaining technically proficient in their occupational specialty. As each Airman becomes stronger our team becomes stronger.
We have a strong leadership team that has a passion for the success of our overall mission and a sincere compassion for the people. The diversity of our leaders provides many different opportunities in which to develop and inspire others to be better than they have been before. We continue to raise the standards over and beyond the norm with a streamlined and improved process approach by looking closely at the way we do business. We continue to seek improvements with innovative methods to perform simple and complex tasks that make sense, saves time and money. We know we have to do more with less so we become lethal with our intelligence. You can see this in our young Airmen that step up to the challenge as they are truly making a difference. You can see this in a humble old chief like me who admits to not being too old of a dog to learn a new trick from younger Airmen. If the new idea makes me and our team more effective and efficient, I want to know about it. I want to help our Airman seek resources and new ways to implement and execute the idea so the team can concentrate our efforts on more needed priorities. It's a win-win situation if we can all have more energy at the end of the day to take home and enjoy life with friends, family, and loved ones.
The story of our Air Force has proven time and time again that we can evolve and adapt to the ever changing demands placed upon us to ensure our national military strategy is a success. We are bound by a sense of pride; leaning forward to carry on the fine traditions established by those leaders who have gone before us so our time in service would be easier. We are devoted to do the same and make it even better for our Airmen so their future will be easier for mission success. I believe maybe one of the finest attributes of our success is in the appreciation we have for one another and what each of us has to offer. It's really simple! The next Airman you see, simply say "thank you" and congratulate the magnificent job they are doing. Thank them for taking the oath of enlistment in an all-volunteer Air Force; I can guarantee you, the reward is that the Airman and/or team will continue to provide many accomplishments for which we can be thankful.
I would like to personally thank each and every one of you, my fellow Airman, for your service to our Air Force and our country.