Command Chief’s Column
By Chief Master Sgt. Al Reale, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 10, 2009
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- The Airman's Creed
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN
GUARDIAN OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE
MY NATION'S SWORD AND SHIELD
ITS SENTRY AND AVENGER
I DEFEND MY COUNTRY WITH MY LIFE
As you recite the third verse of the creed, I want you to think of it from the perspective of the oppressed, the desperate, or the scared. Imagine if you will the perspective of a little boy in Sarajevo in 1999 when his home was being targeted by the Bosnian Army in an effort to ethnically cleanse the region. That child would be desperate for help, looking for a 'super hero' of sorts to right the wrongs and provide safety, stability and justice.
Luckily for that little boy and many like him, the Air Force was called upon in Operation ALLIED FORCE to provide a shield for the oppressed, serving as a sentry against terror. Specifically the 104th Fighter Wing was asked to be that Avenger who fought for and guarded the freedom that we hold true. In 1999 nearly 150 members supported 400 combat sorties, thwarting the ethnic cleansing.
Our calling to support and defend the constitution clearly designates us as its guardians and sentries of what that document represents, not just at home, but abroad. As members of the Air Force were working in the pentagon on that faith-filled day in September, they were defending our country , some with their lives.
Being an American Airmen is more then a job, it's a calling. No matter who you are, or what career field you are in, we are all tied to this identity, heritage, and our effort effects more then just the members of this base, they affect a nation, an ideal, and a virtue worth dieing for.