What the Airman's Creed Means to Me

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

I am an American Airman. I didn't realize I was an Airman until I deployed with the Army. Although we serve toward the same end, I found the Army's culture very "grounded." As Airmen we are brought up with a far ranging vision. We project power. We are encouraged to spread our wings, take chances, and think outside the box. I love the Airman's culture and thrive in it.

I am a warrior. I'm not the aggressive type. I'd rather watch contact sports than play them. But like a mother lioness, if my country, my family, or my way of life is threatened....I am a formidable warrior!

I have answered my nation's call. Did you join the USAF to answer your nation's call? I didn't. Let's be honest. I joined the Air Force because it promised fun. But in time I began to hear my nation calling and I answered. For instance, in Bosnia, I met the widows of the Srebrenica massacre and realized that our nation calls us to intercede in conflicts where the innocent suffer and the warring sides can see no future beyond revenge and death.

I am an American Airman. My mission is to fly, fight, and win. Most of us don't fly day-to-day, but we've all flown. Remember that great day when you were so full of pride that it felt like you were flying. I had one of those days on Nov. 4, 2006 when the 30th Space Wing launched Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 17 into a perfect orbit. At the time, I was a guest of the 30th Space Wing, and as I watched that Delta IV lift-off into the early morning twilight, I felt like I was flying with it. I was so proud to be part of the USAF.

I am faithful to a proud heritage, During World War II, the Women Airforce Service Pilots took to the air to support the war effort. They broke the mold and envisioned a future for women in the Air Force. Everyday I live their vision.

A tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor. Generals Carl Spaatz, Claire Chennault, George Kenney, David Jones and Ronald Fogelman served selflessly. They built and reinforced our tradition of honor. Valor is not just something we read about in military history; we see and hear snapshots of valor everyday from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Eduring Freedom.

I am an American Airman, guardian of freedom and justice, No other country enjoys the freedom coupled with the security of the United States.

My nation's sword and shield, its sentry and avenger. We are the strongest, deadliest Air Force in the world. We ensure strategic security for our economy, culture and way of life. Deterrence is guaranteed by the vigilance of a sentry and the swiftness of an avenger.

I defend my country with my life. Freedom and justice are worth defending with my life.

I am an American Airman: wingman, leader, warrior. Sometimes we are leaders and sometimes we are followers, but we are always wingmen!

I will never leave an Airman behind. When I attended Squadron Officer's School, I learned a terrible lesson. Our flight was given puzzles, war games and obstacles to overcome that required teamwork. Our motley crew never could get our act together. With every test we failed, I felt that it always came down to 1 or 2 individuals...the proverbial weak links. The lesson I learned was that in order to succeed, you had to leave the weak behind. That mindset changed for me when I deployed to Baghdad for OIF in August 2003. I was charged with deploying a combat weather team of 10 people to Baghdad. This team too had its weak links. However, I learned to appreciate everyone for their strengths and their contribution to the team however large or small. When under fire, you appreciate the value of life and I realized that in my heart I could never leave an Airman behind.

I will never falter, and I will not fail. Let's be real, we all fail. We're human, right? But as Airman we never fail to do what's right, to put our best foot forward, and be excellent in all we do.