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Each skill set vital to body of 451st AEW

  • Published
  • By Chap. (Capt.) Paul Joyner
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain
Last week I attended the Company Grade Officers Council meeting where Col. Hansen gave a wing mission briefing. During that meeting, he related the wing to the analogy of a body. He said a body, like our wing, is comprised of muscles, tendons and ligaments. That got me thinking ... we are one body!

If you consider it for a moment that we are one body, consider we are the body of a gifted Mixed Martial Arts fighter. His signature move is a "knock-out" punch. He uses his entire body to deliver that blow. His fist cannot strike the opponent without using the biceps. The biceps and fist cannot deliver that punch without the body throwing its weight into that move. His experience and skill tell him that in order to deliver the devastating punch, he has to throw his back into it, the legs must be positioned and pivoted perfectly to support the punch, the eyes and ears are needed to discern the right target on the opponent and see the opportunity to hit that target. The head controls everything telling the whole body when and where to strike! Every part of his body is needed to effectively deliver one strong, well placed, lethal "knock-out" punch.

As I envisioned the body of our MMA fighter, I see our wing. I see us like this: the feet are people who are walking around out there -- like our "outside-the-wire" folks ... security forces, office of special investigation, explosive ordnance disposal, joint expeditionary tasking Airmen and others. Airmen walking around out there are doing tasks like keeping the flightline safe, detaining bad guys from local villages, disarming improvised explosive devices and a whole host of other tasks. The legs of our body move cargo and people around, both in the air and on the ground -- units like the C-130s; air cargo, logistics readiness squadron and passenger terminal workers, civil engineering, vehicle operations mechanics and operators. Our C-130s deliver materials, supplies and people all over Afghanistan. CE is out there building a new country one road, one structure, and one facility at a time. Nothing can move around the region without convoys and trucks. The fists of our fighter (which are connected to our forearms, biceps, shoulders and chest) are made up of people like our attack pilots and special operators. The forearms are our armament folks hanging bombs on our planes. The biceps are our ammo troops, building those munitions bringing the pain of that "knock-out punch." The shoulders are the back-shops, and avionics are the chest. The senior NCO's and NCO's provide the backbone to the organization. While the public affairs office, historian, equal opportunity office and other supporting agencies are our ears, hearing about all that is going on in this fighting arena. Our eyes belong to the Predators, Reapers, intelligence and radar units. They see the entire battlefield, interpreting what is and isn't a valid target. Of course, the head of our fighter is our wing commander, vice commander, group and squadron commanders. They make the decisions that keep our fighters fully "in the game" and still in the fight. We keep our fighter healthy and his heart strong through our medical clinic, our contingency aeromedical evacuations staging facility and aeromedical evacutaion folks as well as our extremely gifted pararescuemen (our PJs). Our fighter enjoys short moments of laughter and relaxation by way of our force support flight and morale, welfare and recreation, and lodging folks.

Although I'm sure I've missed a few occupations, units, people and duties, without ALL of the parts of the body working together for the fight, we would be useless and ineffective. All of these parts (and ones I haven't mentioned) make up the body of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing that has been sent here to provide the air power mission and that "knock-out" punch. Be encouraged that whatever your role is in the wing and whatever part of the body you belong to, you make the fighter successful. As a strong, skilled, well conditioned and unified body of a MMA fighter, we will be victorious and we will produce that decisive "knock-out" punch to the enemy. 451st - Let's Get It On!