Not to be conquered

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Ryan Williams
  • 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron
En route to negotiate a treaty at The Hague in 1608, the ambassadors Spinola and Richardet, sent by the king of Spain, saw eight people from their small boat. "Who are those travelers?" asked the ambassadors of a peasant who was part of their escort. "These are our worshipped masters, the deputies from the state," was his reply. Spinola at once whispered, "These are not men to be conquered." (From Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them by Samuel Smiles) 

The respect these men commanded from those who served them immediately told the ambassadors that these men could lead nations. What traits and character did these men have to command such respect of those that served them? Do we in the profession of arms command the same respect and reverence from those we serve with?

As members of the greatest fighting force in the world, we are counted among the men and women not to be conquered. On a daily basis, we accomplish amazing feats, against all odds only to wake up the next morning to do it all over again. It is true we do not go in search of difficult or unpleasant experiences, but the nature of our profession forces us to face them day-in and day-out, both here at home or in a deployed location.

The secret of our success is largely based on the willingness to work tirelessly, each carrying their load. As leaders, we should always be looking for opportunities to work alongside our Airmen, never placing ourselves above a charge that is placed before us, from cleaning the office to filling sandbags. I am sure none of us, when asked to accomplish a mission of great significance would hesitate to do their part. It is by small and simple tasks that we make ourselves unconquerable. The fall of Rome was attributed to the general corruption of its people and to the prevailing love of pleasure and idleness.

Work, in the final days of Rome, was regarded as fit only for the slaves. Rome's citizens ceased to pride themselves on the virtues of their forefathers, and the empire fell because it did not deserve to live. 

In the security forces career field, it is embedded in us that we lead from the front and always put the wellbeing of our Airmen above that of our own. We make sure their needs are taken care of first, making sure they are fed first, bedded down first, and properly organized, trained and equipped to accomplish the mission. This is a true leader, one who is always mindful of the men and women who serve and is willing to roll up their sleeves and get side-by-side in daily toil and never elevate themselves above the task in their charge. 

These are leaders not to be conquered. When they make their contribution in the mission, or in life, they will be listed as assets and will be remembered for their character and integrity.