Taking best care of our Airmen

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Win today's fight. Take best care of our people. Prepare for tomorrow's challenges. These are the overarching priorities of our Air Force.

Even while fighting a Global War on Terror and striving to find the ways and means to recapitalize our capabilities, we still make "taking care of our people" a top priority. I'm honored to be a member of such a world-class team ... a team whose leaders recognize that people truly are the foundation of our success.

One of the most important ways we care for our people is by recognizing their individual contributions toward mission success. During the week of April 21, we will gather together nominees from across the globe to compete in Air Force Space Command's top recognition program for enlisted Airmen. Although small in number -- less than two-dozen individuals -- they represent the many thousands of enlisted Airmen across the Command who ensure mission accomplishment each day.

As we recognize this select group of performers, it is important to note that supervisors and commanders are an important element of this program. Their support is crucial from the beginning, as they nominate deserving Airmen and author the required award packages. Without the support and encouragement of supervisors and commanders there would be no awards program.

This year's theme, "I Am An American Airmen," is familiar to every Airmen. Using our creed in this way underscores its importance to all Airmen. It also serves to remind us that the Air Force's proud heritage, its tradition of honor, and legacy of valor are founded on the service and sacrifice of individual Airmen ... enlisted and officer, commissioned and noncommissioned.

The nominees will be welcomed in a special ceremony at the command headquarters here. They'll then participate in a series of professional development events and other activities for the remainder of the week until the banquet on the final evening where the Air Force Space Command's top enlisted Airmen of the year will be announced. The winners will go on to compete for selection as one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

I join with our commander, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, to thank all the nominees for their integrity, service and excellence ... and their supervisors and commanders for nominating them for this important recognition. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of these outstanding Airmen.