A perspective on commitment

  • Published
  • By Randy McFadden
  • 341st Communications Squadron Commander
When we first become an Airman, whether enlisted, officer or civilian, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. What does that mean? Looking back on over four decades of service, my perspective has changed from when I first enlisted to today serving as a civil servant.

The oath I took as a new recruit, the Oath of Enlistment, was to my young mind simply a necessary step in becoming an Airman. I said the words and meant them but didn't really have a good grasp on what it really meant. I knew that I could be called upon to lay down my life in defense of our country however I wasn't fully committed to the Air Force. I was going to do four years, get out and go to college. Somewhere along the way life changed me and my perspective, as I gained stripes and re-enlisted, the Air Force became part of who I am. The core values of the Air Force became mine and I owned them.

Over 29 years and three career fields the commitment to the core values became ingrained into me such that all that I do is governed by these values. There are no half measures; there are no wavering decisions on right or wrong. Integrity, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do, means more than just the words themselves.

Integrity - Trust that you will do what is right especially when no one is looking. In our mission here at Wing One that is an absolute. The duties that each of us perform every day are vital to the defense of our nation whether in operations, security forces, maintenance, mission support or the medical group. The Air Force trusts that you will do you mission every day.

Service before self - We are all here voluntarily for many reasons - education opportunities or to escape a life situation that we don't like, for example. However we stay because we know this mission is important, and we choose to serve this great nation. Service to others is one of the greatest callings that one can aspire to.

Excellence in all we do - This mission requires and deserves the best of us. We are responsible for the most powerful weapons in the world, their maintenance, their protection and if necessary their deployment. Make no mistake our task, all of us, if called upon is to reign destruction on our enemy.  If we fail, our nation fails. We cannot fail. We must commit ourselves to excellence, not as a goal but as a journey every day.

As a civil servant these core values are still mine, they still influence everything I do. The commitment to the Air Force, to our country, and to each of you is and always will be there.