Are you ready to keep answering the call?

  • Published
  • By Maj. James Davis
  • 22nd Contracting Squadron commander
Throughout 2008, we experienced our share of strategic highs and lows as a service that shared a common purpose of defending the Constitution of the United States and interests of our great Nation.

Whether it was the many lives saved on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the resignation of our two Air Force leaders, or the protests of the KC-X and the CSAR-X, one fundamental constant was our ability to successfully deal with change. Herein lies our strength.

Now, as we transition into a new year seeing multiple geo-political events unfold right before our eyes, I cannot help but ask, are you ready to keep answering the call?

In December last year, I along with two other squadron commanders had the honor of sitting on a leadership panel. We debated some well thought-out questions regarding our perspective on disciplining Airmen to include our decisions to retain or discharge members from active duty. As we filled the questions, I was reminded of a comment made by Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, who said "our profession is not just another job;...we are entrusted with the security of our nation, the protection of its citizens, and the preservation of its way of life."

This unique profession requires a calling that is greater than you and I. It demands many of us to make personal and professional sacrifices. This calling expects every man and woman to strive for excellence as the standard across the board and to give nothing less than their very best.

Our pursuit of excellence is the one variable that enables us to overcome constrained resources, mission creep, and simply do the impossible as we protect the freedoms and liberties of our fellow Americans.

After pondering these thoughts along with the general's comments, I remember telling the Airmen that leaders make tough decisions about who stays and who goes with a clear understanding that our Airmen represent less than one percent of our American population and not everyone is worthy or able to answer the call.

As we approach this new year, we are destined to face many new opportunities, challenges, and the formidable concept of never ending change. Just think about the geo-political events consisting of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, transition of a new president, and a flailing economy, all while successfully fighting two wars.

Fellow Airmen, we are all serving at a time when our country needs us most. Therefore, we must be ready to keep answering the call and to serve with a purpose of continuing a legacy passed down by those warriors who preceded us.

I concluded our discussion with the leadership panel by telling the Airmen we own the solutions to today's problems and the security of tomorrow's freedoms. Take a moment to reflect on the first three lines of our Airman's creed, which state, "I am an American Airman; I am a Warrior. I have answered my nation's call."

As members of the joint team, these words capture a common bond that is grounded in our nobility of purpose and unites all who serve. So let us venture into 2009 with vigor and resolve, continuing to answer the call.