NEWS | Aug. 30, 2016

It's an honor

By Capt Sheontee C. Frank 628th Medical Group

The Airman's Creed was introduced on April 18, 2007, by General T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, in an effort to reinvigorate the warrior spirit and fundamental beliefs of the American Airman. Moseley's effort was timely because the Air Forces' involvement in combat operations resulted in a noticeable drift from a warfighting orientation toward technical proficiency.

The second stanza of the Airman's Creed states, "I am an American Airman. My mission is to fly, fight, and win. I am faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor." What does that statement mean? The embodiment of the American Airman is demonstrated by the daily actions of those who assume the title. It's not just about wearing the uniform; it's about one's commitment to a higher calling. Your nation's call. The Air Force's heritage is filled with fascinating stories of people who have made a valorous mark in history. 

For instance:
· 1st Lt. Thomas Selfridge was the first U.S. military officer to pilot a modern aircraft on May 19, 1908 aboard the "White Wing," the Aerial Experiment Association's second powered aircraft. Additionally, Selfridge was the first military officer to fly an airplane solo.

· Master Sgt. Ralph Bottriell became the first military member to jump out of an airplane with a backpack-type parachute in 1919.

· Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold became the first and only Airman to achieve the rank of five star general on December 21, 1944.

· Staff Sgt. Esther McGowin Blake was the first woman to enlist after Congress passed the Women's Armed Service Integration Act in 1948.

· Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. became the first African American appointed as general on October 27, 1954.

· Lt. Col. Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom became the first Air Force astronaut to travel into space on July 21, 1961.

· Airman 1st Class John L. Levitow was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 for his selfless actions in saving an aircraft and its entire crew during the Vietnam War.

· Gen. Janet Carol Wolfenbarger became the first female general in the Air Force on June 5, 2012.

By assuming the title of American Airman, you acknowledge your commitment to the same values and fundamental beliefs of those who paved the way.  It is an honor to hold the same title of people who possessed the fortitude to exceed standards and make history. It is an honor to be afforded the same opportunity to make your mark as well. It is also an honor to celebrate the proud heritage, tradition and legacy of the proud Airmen who have served in the United States Air Force.  The Air Force Ball is an annual Air Force-wide tradition to celebrate the heritage and history of the Air Force. 2016 marks the 69th anniversary of the Air Force. Every year at the ball, we honor Prisoners of War and Soldiers Missing in Action, give toasts to military leaders and uphold traditional military customs. 

Joint Base Charleston's Air Force Ball is scheduled for September 17, 2016 at the Charleston Convention Center. This year's theme is, "Profession of Arms: Forging the American Airman," to recognize the valuable contributions of our nation's Airmen.  Mrs. Aisha Tyler from Live at 5 News will be the emcee for the evening and Lt. Gen. Brooks L. Bash (ret.) will be the guest speaker. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and I look forward to seeing you there! For more information, please call at 843-963-6607 and/or send inquiries to jbchs.afball@gmail.com.

Invitation Link: https://einvitations.afit.edu/inv/index.cfm?i=300126&k=016142087951