You are the greatest Airman!

  • Published
  • By Col. Adam B. Willis
  • 445th Airlift Wing Commander

The Greatest Airman? Yes, you are! Since the beginning of our service, 1947, the United States Air Force has evolved and adapted just as society has evolved and adapted. From the Korean and Vietnam Wars to the last two decades of combat engagement, it is the Airman, you, who has carried the will of our Nation to the enemy.


It is you who has deployed multiple times, leaving family and friends behind. It is you who continues into harm’s way. It is you who returns home and assimilates back into a society that often cannot comprehend what you have endured. It is you, the Airman, who ensures they never need to. It is you, the Airman who continually adapts to the changing landscape ensuring our Nation, our families and loved ones are safe. It is you who I believe is the Greatest Airman in history! It is you, the Airman, who I salute.


This adaptation and evolution I speak of manifests itself in a multitude of presentations all of which parade themselves within every endeavor we engage. From within, the Airman, you, are our instrument of that change, that adaptation. However, change does not come easy. As one of history’s great philosophers, Heraclitus wrote, “There is nothing permanent except change.” This elegant message, while simple in understanding, is arguably more difficult in execution. Simply stated, the only constant in life is change. Through the mechanism of change, whether willing or not, the outcome is always progress; albeit it’s sometimes in the opposite direction one intended.


As a service, we experience change every day, whether at work or at home. Sometimes that change is evident, sometimes not. Sometimes change is strategic and sometimes tactical.


Each engagement represents a new set of variables and challenges. We as Airmen, have an avenue available to us thereby ensuring we fight as a team.


There already exists a variety of vehicles that “soften” the expressed “difficulty to change.” Just as the Air Force relies on you as the instrument of change, they too are the instruments which you use. They are the instruments we entrust all Airman with…  Integrity, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do. Through these vehicles, apprehension associated with change becomes palatable and manageable.


While these vehicles are the essence, the core of our Service, they also set the stage for the expressed progress which inevitably comes with change, yet never with lack of change…for change is enduring, as are our Airmen. It is the Airman, you, the very instrument the Air Force uses to implement change who truly are the greatest!


Our service is strong because you, the greatest Airman, who has the capacity to adapt and evolve, who faces apprehension armed with courage and our core values. As noted by Winston Churchill,” success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


Continue to stay proud, continue to stay engaged and continue to stay safe…

The greatest Airman... Always!


As we embark on the holiday season, Elyse and I wish you and your family a safe and a prosperous holiday and New Year!