An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Holding A Place Among Their Equal

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ron Reidel
  • 380th Expeditionary Operations Group Executive Officer
One fateful September day eight years ago, I was summoned to the stateside mortuary to begin the task of preparing close to 200 remains of fellow military members and innocent civilians whose lives were taken in the Pentagon plane strike. This was a situation that would later beckon with meaning, the phrase "One team, one fight."

Fareeq wahed katal waheed.

This Arabic slogan translates to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing's mission statement. For persons living in a deployed environment, this arrangement of forces is essential.
The desert plain of our battlefield has many trees--numerous, virtual trees. These gleaming columns are symbols of guidance, and markers of identity. We navigate through these landmarks courtesy of those who have gone before us--courtesy of the height they left behind.

These trees may be regarded as strategic, aerial advantages, as afterall--we are called to "stand on the shoulders of giants" (Isaac Newton). Such logic implies that the men and women who came before us left a legacy that makes our "one team, one fight"-focus a possibility.

In the aftermath of 9/11, I went to the storehouse where the completed caskets waited patiently for their flight their final resting place. I stood alone in the center of more than one hundred flag-draped coffins, each holding a place among their equal.
Their arrangement resembled that of a military formation. I listened intently for any sound, but it was quiet. I felt unworthy to break their silence.

That experience is something I won't forget. It's something that gave me perspective. It's something that makes one realize what's important. It was by this experience I wish to convey to my fellow wingmen to know and embrace their place on the field, the sea and the sky.

The 380th AEW is eyes in the night, refuelers in the sky, cameras that trace the enemy, and coordinators of air traffic. The area of responsibility depends on our actions, and we stand up--one team in one fight.