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The job of an Airman

By Lt. Col. David Chisenhall Jr. 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron commander

A friend once asked me if I thought our "jobs" in the Air Force were easy. As the question soaked in, I reflected on a few things.

Anyone can say their job is easy, but not everyone serves in, or works with, this great service. In a recent speech, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "Most Americans have grown too detached from Iraq and Afghanistan and see military service as something for other people to do." When I read the secretary's comments, I was stunned to say the least.

Well, you "other people" at Barksdale are doing amazing things each and every day as you execute the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's top priorities by continuing to strengthen the nuclear enterprise and winning today's fight. While I'm positive there are other Air Force wings that have similar or more ongoing challenges, I would proudly stack our day-to-day operations against anyone.

Starting with projecting devastating B-52 combat capability from this installation to any point around the globe. Barksdale provides several hundred expeditionary combat Airmen to the fight on a continuous basis. Airmen here faced the challenge and stood up the Air Force's newest major command in more than 17 years and forged one of the Air Force's most aggressive Total Force Integration initiatives with the 917th Wing and the 2d Bomb Wing. Your professionalism, hard work, and personal sacrifice ensures Team Barksdale will succeed.

You succeeded by making your decisions and choices based on the Air Force Core Values--integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. You apply integrity to everything you do, meaning you do what is right even when no one is looking. You serve your professional duties before your personal desires. You pay attention to details in an unyielding environment where 99 percent is not good enough and do the best job that you can while adversity is trying to knock you down.

The Air Force exists to fight and win our nation's wars. You are entrusted with the security of the nation. As the CSAF once stated, your worth is not necessarily measured by your proximity to the fight. No one person or specialty is more important than any other to the accomplishment of the overall mission. Every Airman matters and what you do is extremely important to the team's success.

So, after contemplating all that you do, I finally responded to my friend's question with this answer: "The only easy day was yesterday, and if we are still talking about yesterday, then we have not done much of anything today."

Thank you for your service and all that you have done, and continue to do, for our great Air Force. Lead the way!