The Air Force exists to secure freedom around the world

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gregory Schwartz
  • 8th Airlift Squadron commander
We can never forget why we wear the uniform, or what our primary purpose is for wearing the uniform.

We are here to secure our freedom, for our countrymen, for our families, for our friends, and it may seem lately, for the entire world.

This is not another notion sparked by the events of Sept. 11; but one that I have held long before Sept. 11 took place, and one that I have no doubt I will hold long after this war on terrorism ends.

The Air Force, and the military as a whole, has a very complicated doctrine set that spells out how we go about waging campaigns to accomplish our national goals.

It may seem like we are the primary defenders of freedom and liberty world-wide ... and we are.
The growing global interdependence of nations forces us into that role. It is not a role we carry alone, nor is it a role we can shy away from.

What happens on every continent with regard to stability, security and economic development affects every American in some way.

This in no way changes the way we here at McChord operate on a daily basis. Our job hasn't changed since 2001.

Yes, we provide the "global" in global reach. Sure, we deploy more often and for longer periods of time, but the job of every active duty, Guard, Reservist and civilian employee hasn't changed.

Every job we do, whether we are prepping a jet on the flightline, guarding a gate in the middle of the night, serving food to the swing shift or delivering cargo into an Iraqi airfield falls into the "support those who are fighting" category.

The thousands of services we provide to our members and families at home all spring from our ability to support a fielded military force thousands of miles away. Supporting our fielded forces is why we exist.

If we fail at any of those services we provide back home, then we are likely to fail in supporting our fielded forces and that is not an option.

With the lines of battle blurred, as they are in this conflict, you may have to transition from "supporting those who are fighting" to becoming a shooter.

You won't have warning when that transition will take place or whether it will be on your deployment or here at home. But that possibility is always there and we all have to be ready. We have to train for it every day, not just during the spin-up period to an inspection.

And this is why we can never forget why we wear the uniform and what our primary role is.