Our responsibility as Airmen

  • Published
  • By By Lt. Gen. Bruce "Orville" Wright
  • 5th Air Force and U.S. Force Japan commander
The Air Force of the United States of America possesses the most destructive, fast, far reaching military capability in the world. Such potentially devastating power demands the highest levels of responsibility and commitment by every U.S. Air Force Airman.

The President of the United States relies on America's Air Force to fly, fight and win across a range of military operations. U.S. Air Force operations include the employment of nuclear missiles, bomber aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons, and conventional bomber and fighter aircraft with precision weapons that can destroy and damage enemy capabilities more effectively than any other military force on the planet.

Every Airman contributes to the mission, development, support, deployment and employment of U.S. Air Force weapons systems. Covering the wide spectrum of combat flying, space, airlift, and cyber operations, intelligence and surveillance, engineering and acquisition, logistics and maintenance, we are all responsible to every citizen of our nation for their Air Force. In fact, we all share an oath to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and ensure the high-cost, decisive combat capabilities and weapons systems of the United States Air Force are ready, able and combat effective.

Our responsibility for the overwhelming destructive physical power of the U.S. Air Force should drive Airmen to always look closely at ourselves in our conduct, mission competence, and the leadership standards we demonstrate among all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and military civilians. Our Air Force commissioned and non-commissioned officer force must be constantly committed to set the highest standards for those we lead inside and outside our Air Force. U.S. Air Force officers and noncommissioned officers need to put ever-increasing emphasis on reaching deep inside ourselves and find the courage and commitment to match and exceed standards of appearance and leadership credibility among all the U.S. military services.

Exemplary physical readiness and uniform appearance are fundamental to Air Force leader credibility. "Excellent" fitness test scores for officers and non-commissioned officers should be a self-motivated personal and professional requirement. Respected command presence, based on self-study and communication skills, is essential for effective leadership and requires life-time dedication to continuous self improvement. Mission competence in the safe, effective, and winning employment of our nation's most expensive and destructive weapons systems demands absolute pass-fail standards for membership in America's Air Force. For all those in our world watching us, the mission competence of Airmen should never be in doubt.

The level of destructive capabilities of our Air Force must also be matched by exemplary levels of individual moral courage. If America's citizens are to trust us with employment of the devastating nuclear and conventional capability of air and space delivered weapons, they must know they can rely on each of us to be honorable and uphold the nation's highest standards of personal conduct.

America deserves to have complete confidence and trust in every single Airman because of the authority and responsibility they have given us. To lie or cheat or steal, or tolerate such behavior among us, breaks the bond that must be guaranteed to Americans who trust their lives and the enduring future of our nation to Airmen. 

For Airmen, there can be no higher calling, so help us God.