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Building our Air Force Heritage…Whatever it takes

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Have you ever heard, "whatever it takes," with respect to getting the job done? Since my early days in the Air Force as a maintainer, I understood the "whatever it takes" mentality of getting our job done and sustaining mission readiness.

Back then, it meant working a 14-hour shift without being asked, because it was expected. Throughout the years, I kept the "whatever it takes" philosophy, and it has served me well.

I don't really hear these words spoken much anymore. Lately, it is all about our AF core values. The guest speaker at fairly recent Airmen Leadership School graduation, Master Sgt. Eric Dye, 366 Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, talked about "service before self" and related it to his early days of knowing it meant working long hours on the flightline or pulling weekend duty. He then stated when he realized that, "service before self," really meant doing what is expected...to do what is required by our policy and mission needs regardless of our personal preferences.

Our Air Force core values captured the essence of "whatever it takes".

The USAF is still young and forging its heritage and the Air Force core values have become the cornerstone of that heritage. We expect our Airmen to be trustworthy, to put the service and its mission before their personal goals and desires, and to commit themselves to pursue excellence. Our core values set us apart from civilians and instill pride in being an Airman.

When other Americans recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we proud Airmen stand at attention and say nothing because we don't pledge our allegiance, we pledge our life to our country. "I defend my country with my life,"....yes, the Airman's Creed.

In 2007, our then Air Force Chief of Staff, General T. Michael Moseley, presented us with the Airman's Creed to replace all other Air Force related creeds. The goal was to instill a warrior ethos in every Airman.

I can't tell you how many times I have recited the Airman's Creed, but I can tell you that every time I recite it, I stand tall and feel proud to be an Airman. To me, without question, our creed also captures the essence of "whatever it takes."

Lt. Col. Chris Estridge, 366th Medical Support Squadron commander, told a few of us about what it was like during the ramp-up of deploying huge amounts of Air Force medical assets. He told us about how he and others in his office worked 48 hours non-stop and proudly stated medical "Log-Dogs" not only understand "whatever it takes", it is their motto!

Understanding the personal sacrifice needed for mission success is the essence of "whatever it takes". These words forged the path of our proud heritage and are captured in our core values, our Airman's Creed, and in some of our mottos.

Although I don't hear many people utter the exact words, the spirit of "whatever it takes" lives on. I have never been more proud to serve my country as an Airman and I am very proud of our Airmen who accept and live up to the commitment of being a wingman, the pursuit of excellence in all they do, and the understanding the USAF needs come before their personal desires. Remember what is expected of you and be proud of being called Airman.