I am an American Airman, I am a Warrior

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Danny Vaughn II, 423rd Communications Squadron Superintendent

It is a cold, dark morning on the sleepy hollows of RAF Alconbury. As everyone begins to awaken and start their journey to work, the base still seems eerily quiet compared to any other base I have been stationed. I go into work and I see my Airmen starting their day. They are 423rd Communications Squadron Airmen, ensuring that the network is up and running and customers’ computers are properly working so everyone can carry on with their daily duties. Some Airmen leave for lunch, and some Airmen bring a lunch. At the end of the duty day, I walk through work centers and engage in conversation with my Airmen before they head home for the evening. Nothing about this day rings with the astounding excitement of ‘I am a Warrior!’

As the enlisted leader for my Airmen, one of my jobs is to remind them on a daily basis that we are warriors, serving in the world’s greatest Air Force. This fact is easily forgotten and sometimes disregarded as we live our everyday lives at home station. I emphasize three things with my Airmen to help drive home our warrior ethos. 

First and foremost is family. We all signed up with the expectation that we were joining a brotherhood-in-arms, and I hold my Airmen to that expectation. I charge my Airmen to learn about one another.  What are your coworkers’ spouse’s names, children’s names, or pet’s name? How many brothers and sisters do they have? Where did they come from? Building the family within the squadron helps to prepare us to support each other when deployments and hardships occur. Warriors are able to focus on the mission when they know they have a family to support them and their loved ones.

The second point of emphasis is training. We joined the world’s greatest Air Force, so we should expect and demand the world’s greatest training. Training is paramount to cultivate lethal warriors. If you are not receiving the training required to reach your full potential of lethality, it is your responsibility to demand it. On the other side of the battle, there is another country’s warrior.  Doing your job.  Training to be better than you. Coming for your position as the world’s greatest.  If you cannot out-train and out-work that warrior, you will lose. Losing means that your loved ones back home, who trusted you to protect them, are in jeopardy. You must have a warrior mentality when training.

My final emphasis for a warrior-mentality focuses on fitness. For most, fitness becomes a nuisance, a hobby, a distraction, or something we do just to pass our fitness assessments. Fitness should be engrained as part of our responsibility as a warrior to protect the sovereignty of America. When you were in basic training and had to fall out for physical training every day, you never thought to yourself, ‘I didn’t sign up for this.’ You knew and expected that this was the way of life for as long as you served.  If anything, you were surprised when you got to your first duty station and weren’t required to fall out every morning and perform fitness training as a unit. So, embrace fitness as a part of your everyday life. You owe it to all the American citizens that have entrusted you with the protection of their families.

Being a warrior in the world’s greatest Air Force is a tall order. One that we should embrace and welcome with open arms. One that should fill us with excitement and enthusiasm to shoulder. Stand tall and be proud to say, ‘I am an American Airman. I am a Warrior!’