JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
In my current job as a Professional Military Education instructor, I have opportunities for great debates and discussions with my students almost daily. Recently, while passionately making a discussion point with my students, a very sharp technical sergeant said to me, “Sgt. Hunter, you just went full blue! You never go full blue! Come back to us!” Almost immediately the entire class erupted in laughter, including myself. Little did I know the remarks about going full blue would stick with me for weeks to come.
On my way into work one day I had an epiphany and said to myself, “Why not go full blue?” What would happen if I did? Better yet, what would happen if everyone did? How would that change our Air Force?
As I considered these questions, I wondered, “Why are we not as proud as other services?”
An example of that pride from other service branches is knowing their service’s birthday. I can almost guarantee if one were to poll Airmen randomly at the Base Exchange, chances are 70 to 80 percent would not know the Air Force’s birthday is Sept. 18, 1947. This percentage also happens to be the same amount of students I receive every six weeks who are unaware of our service’s birthday.
Members of other branches seem to know also more about their history. How many of us know the history behind something as simple as the squadron coin? If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit only a few truly know the history behind the squadron coin.
Our history is short in comparison since we are the youngest service branch of service in the Department of Defense. From my perspective, we have less to know and ought to be better at recalling and knowing our heritage.
I think many of us would agree we are very reserved and timid in displaying our sense of pride. This kind of thought and behavior pattern is something we need to change as a force. We need to stop down playing ourselves, our roles, our importance, and our capabilities we offer as a force compared to the other service branches.
Over the years I’ve noticed we are hesitant to show our pride. I believe this might be out of fear that other services would ridicule us, or worse, we would be ridiculed by our own members. Bottom line, if the other service branches could do everything that we do, to the level of excellence that we do, we wouldn’t have a need to exist. Subsequently, this is exactly why we do exist as the most lethal Air Forces in the world.
The Air Force wasn’t founded or created by people who down-played themselves. Visionaries like Gen. William ‘Billy’ Mitchell were passionate about their beliefs of the Air Force. Mitchell was a passionate advocate of the Air Force being a separate service branch that it was one of several issues that led to him resign his commission as an officer. Later on, after his death, Mitchell was posthumously promoted to major general by President Harry S Truman. Imagine if Mitchell was in the Air Force today; do you think he would look at the Air Force as a separate entity from himself? Chances are he wouldn’t. Instead, he would live and breathe knowing he was a critical part of this living organism called the Air Force. Can the same be said about Airmen today?
An even harder question to ask, is can the same be said about you? Let’s embrace our pride and be fearless, proud, and passionate like Mitchell because he certainly went full blue. The question is will you?