The oath: committing to something greater than yourself

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Cook
  • 62nd Operations Support Squadron commander
Every Airman takes an oath when they enter the service. While the officer and enlisted oaths differ in key areas, they share commonality in the following: " solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."

There are several powerful words in this passage worth mentioning. The first word is Swear. Webster's New World Dictionary defines Swear as, "to make a solemn declaration with an appeal to God or to something held sacred for confirmation to pledge or vow on oath." The second word is Faith, which is an "unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence." The final word is Allegiance, which is "the obligation of support and loyalty to one's government or country."

In its simplest form, this oath (once taken) charges each of us to commit to something greater than our own self-interests. Our duty is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Taking this oath is what makes us professionals; it is what separates us from our counterparts in the private sector. The Air Force is not a jobs program. Serving our country is not a right; it is a sacred privilege demanding all of us to uphold the highest standards.

With almost nine years of continuous combat operations, deployments, shrinking budgets, and force structure reductions, the pressure placed on our Airmen to uphold these standards and execute the mission has never been greater. As a result we must bring our best each and every day! Our best requires an absolute and unwavering commitment to enforce the oath.

I ask all of you to think about the oath every morning as you put the uniform on: Swear you'll bring your best, have Faith your fellow Wingmen are doing the same, and know that your Allegiance to serving your country is truly appreciated by all!