What it means to me to be a first-term Airman
By Airman 1st Class Samantha Jett, 366th Maintenance Operations Squadron
/ Published June 30, 2009
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
On Jan. 20, 1961, in his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy posed the question, "Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, north and south, east and west, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?"
My answer is yes - as is the answer of all of my fellow servicemembers who have made the choice to dedicate a portion - if not all - of their lives to the betterment and preservation of the United States of America. Whether we have joined for education, health benefits or purely a desire to serve our country, we have all pledged for the next four to 30 years to put our country and the needs of others before ourselves.
Everyone in the Air Force, no matter what their job is or how long they will or have served, has one thing in common: we have all been a first-term Airman. This is a time that will help shape the people we will be for the rest of our lives. To be a first-term Airman means stepping away from the familiar and challenging the unknown, putting the rights of others before your own and pushing past your fears and limitations to step up and affect change.
It would have been easy for many of us to stay home and continue in the daily routine our lives had adjusted to, but something changed. We all had that moment when the thought of joining the military crossed our minds for the first time. Many of us probably laughed it off thinking we weren't strong, disciplined or brave enough to go through with it, until we finally decided to take that step away from the familiar and challenge the unknown. To join the fight for human rights and put the lives of others before our own.
There is a war waging across the globe for basic human rights we've enjoyed for decades: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, due process, etc. We, as first-term Airmen, have chosen to not only recognize this, but to take a stand for those who can't do so on their own. We have pledged to fight for and with them to make their voices heard. By doing this we are able to push past our fears and limitations and affect change.
President Barack Obama inspired a country with three simple words, "Yes we can!" He was able to help us believe we had the ability and power to affect change individually and as a nation. He gave us the desire to push past the adversity that has kept us at a standstill and get up and do something. We in turn empowered ourselves and made the choice to step outside the box and place ourselves at the mercy of our country.
As first-term Airmen in the Air Force we have chosen to dedicate our time and sacrifice ourselves to help sustain and protect the rights and freedoms we are fortunate enough to enjoy every day. We accept and realize that we are of value and have the power to help those who have lost sight and help them regain their vision and perspective. We are bound by service to one another and will continue in our mission to make this world a better and just place for this generation and generations to come.