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Chief of Staff of the Air Force's Vector: Airmen Warriors

  • Published
  • By Gen. T. Michael Mosley
  • Chief of Staff of the Air Force
We are a Nation at war. As a Service, we've been in continuous combat for over 16 years. The strain is taking a toll on our people and our equipment, yet Airmen persevere, going above and beyond the call of duty every hour of every day. We have answered the Nation's call to defend America, its interests and ideals.

As Airmen, we have a unique warfighting perspective, shaped by a century-old quest to gain the high ground. The association between Air Force and flying is universal, inherent and undeniable. Yet, over the years, we have become so technically proficient and specialized that we have sometimes drifted from our core essence and let our functions override our mission-focus and warfighting orientation. We must never forget that our Air Force isn't just a conglomeration of diverse specialties, skill sets, or jobs. Ours is the profession of arms. We are Airmen Warriors - dedicated to flying, fighting, and winning.

As the youngest of America's five Services, our battle traditions are just a hundred years old. Nevertheless, we are heirs to a proud heritage. The Airman Warrior tradition was built by heroic visionaries and practitioners - such as Mitchell, Arnold, Chennault, Doolittle, LeMay, and Schriever - who charged us to believe in and advocate the value of air power for the Nation. They left us a spirit that fosters initiative, innovation, and forward thinking. They left us an institutional belief in leading by example, from the front, and assuming the full measure of risk and responsibility. They left us a heritage of valor, honor, service and sacrifice. This legacy - the contrails they left behind - defines who we are, shapes what we do, and sets the vector for our future. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

Since becoming Chief a year and a half ago, one of my top priorities has been to reinvigorate the warrior ethos in every Airman of our Total Force. To me, our warrior ethos is the warfighting-focused culture, conviction, character, ethic, mindset, spirit, and soul we foster in all Airmen. It's the pride in our heritage, the recognition that our Nation depends on us to dominate air, space and cyberspace, and our willing acceptance of the burden of those immense responsibilities. We're duty-bound to imbue our newest Airmen with these warrior virtues during basic training and foster them throughout every Airman's career.

Read the next two pages and consider them very carefully. The first page is a short "test" I want you to take. I know most Airmen will agree wholeheartedly with these statements about our mission and direction. But if you aren't in formation, get in position immediately. I need everyone in our Total Force on a single line-up card, thinking and acting with one mind, committed to and guided by these fundamental beliefs. The second page debuts our new Airman's Creed, which will replace all existing Air Force-related creeds. Its memorable and hard-hitting lines articulate these fundamental beliefs and capture the essence of our warfighting ethos.

As Airmen, we wage and win our Nation's wars, all the while fulfilling invaluable and unique roles and missions in peace, crisis and war. As Airmen, we build on our rich combat heritage while reaching toward an infinite horizon. And, as Airmen, we fly, fight, and win. Don't you ever forget it!