KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Mississippi –
In long-standing military tradition, retired Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, former commander of both Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Special Operations Command, was inducted into the Order of the Sword at Keesler Air Force Base, Oct. 15, 2022.
“The Order of the Sword is an honor awarded to a commissioned officer by noncommissioned officers to recognize leaders they hold in high esteem and wish to honor, and no one fits that better than Lt. Gen. Webb,” said Chief Master Sgt. Cory Olsen, AFSOC command chief. “Gen. Webb’s leadership will have a lasting impact for years to come and we are honored to announce him as the first dual command Order of the Sword inductee.”
The official ceremony included the presentation of the Order of the Sword proclamation, the reading of the award citation, the presentation of a ceremonial scroll signed by Airmen in attendance, and the bestowal of Webb’s commemorative sword.
“Being presented the command sword is the highest honor the enlisted force can bestow upon an officer,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC command chief. “Inducting Lt. Gen. Webb into the very exclusive list of leaders is the enlisted force’s way of recognizing his conspicuous and significant contributions to the military establishment, mission effectiveness and the overall welfare of the enlisted corps.”
Order of the Sword ceremonies today are modelled after ceremonies first performed in the 1500s. In the ceremony, noncommissioned officers would honor their leader and pledge their loyalty by ceremoniously presenting them with a sword as a symbol of truth, justice and power rightfully used.
This ceremony became known as The Royal Order of the Sword. It was passed through the ages, coming to the United States around the time of the Revolutionary War. The old ceremony was then revised and adopted by the NCOs of the Air Force in 1967.
No other branch of the military honors its leaders in this manner, and the Order of the Sword is the highest honor and tribute the Air Force enlisted corps can bestow upon an individual.
“I am honored to be bestowed one of the highest praises from the pride of the Air Force; the world’s greatest enlisted force,” Webb said. “I’d like to thank every Airman that has led me to this point today, without your display of the core values and innovative mindsets and contributions to the Air Force, I would not be in the position of receiving this prestigious honor today.”