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American Airman -- body, mind, and spirit

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing
I would like to take a moment and visit with you about what it means to be an American Airman -- body, mind, and spirit.

Our spirit as American Airmen come from our touchstones. Our touchstones are our Air Force Core Values, Air Force Standards, and the Airman's Creed. The Core Values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do describe what we should strive for; the standards, whether they be technical data AFIs or official publications describe how we do it, and the Creed describes why we're American Airmen.

The Air Force Core Values are our principles -- our principles that show us the way to hold the line, to make it better, to push the envelope, to adapt & overcome, to have the personal conviction to get the job done regardless of the challenge.

Our Air Force standards describe our practices, whether they be command & control methods, use of tech data, studying flying publications, or knowing Air Force instructions -- they shape both our deeds and our words.

The Airman's Creed describes our passions for our service -- passions that shape our identity as Airmen, our belief in the mission, our trust in each other, and our loyalty of action. It describes why we've "answered the nation's call" as American Airmen. The Creed describes our identity -- identity that's recognizable in our uniforms, our physical presence, our posture and appearance, our attitude & behavior.

From our identity comes belief. Belief in our mission, belief in our leaders, belief in each other, belief in our weapons. Airmen have always been believers. They had FAITH. They had CONVICTION. They had CONFIDENCE. Airmen are prepared to take on the unknown with confidence -- from General Billy Mitchell at St. Mihiel to General Benjamin O. Davis in the skies over Nazi Germany to General Robin Olds in Operation BOLO -- these Airmen BELIEVED, and they inspired that same belief in the Airmen around them.

Trust springs from belief. The speed of action that results from trust is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal. Trust allows us to act fearlessly, either in combat or in garrison. Knowing that your wingman has cleared your six o'clock is invigorating. Trust is a force multiplier.

Finally, loyalty comes from knowing your leader and your wingman will act with speed & accuracy. Loyalty inspires us all to do our very best for the mission, for ourselves, but most importantly, for each other.

I'd ask you to think on these things when you read through our core values, review our standards, or recite the Airman's Creed -- and recognize the importance of identity, belief, trust & loyalty as you do your duty.