Airmen…Our civic duty and commitment to community

  • Published
  • By Major Eric Crowell
  • 4th Communications Squadron
As Airmen, we have all taken the oath to "support and defend the United States, against all enemies foreign and domestic." Each of us made this commitment to defend something bigger than ourselves, to defend a way of life that is governed by a democratic process. A process devoted to the people. If we have the conviction to defend a process with our lives, should we not also participate in that process?

The United States government is ran for the people and by the people, and the way we make our voice heard is through involvement, not just once every four years, but every day. This requires us to remain law-abiding, engaged in our local and national communities, and to perform our civic duties. As Airmen, we pride ourselves on not just meeting, but exceeding these standards.

As Airmen, we not only follow the law of the land, but we hold ourselves accountable to a much higher standard under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. When we raised our hand and committed ourselves to the protection and defense of the United States, its people and its freedoms, we understood this commitment extended past the job and into our personal life: it was a calling each of us accepted.

We understand as members of the U.S. Air Force, people are always watching us and the impacts of underage drinking, driving impaired, theft or just plain old tom-foolery do not just mark the individual, but can reflect on our Air Force family and our country as a whole. We are engaged wingmen 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year. Sometimes this is tough, but we do the right thing; that is what good Airmen do.

In addition to being good wingmen to our fellow Airmen, we are also active members in our community. Airmen on Seymour Johnson volunteer thousands of hours annually in supporting local churches, community outreach programs, schools and organizations both on and off base. Recently, Team Seymour finished our annual Combined Federal Campaign and exceeded our goal by donating over $215,000 dollars, and putting cash behind our convictions. We have members recognized by national and local organization for their contributions. We do this not just because we are mission-focused Airmen, but because we are "community focused" as well.

Nov. 6, 2012 provides another opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to "Service before Self" and our community as we head to the polls to make our voices heard. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you are left or right, red or blue, liberal or conservative, unless you vote, your voice will not be heard. If you are a North Carolina resident, find a polling station on Nov. 6, and vote. If you are a resident of another state, take the time to put an absentee vote in the mail box and make sure your voice is heard.

A community and its democratic processes are only as good as the participation of its people. Since I have been at Seymour Johnson, not a day goes by that I don't see or hear of us, Seymour Johnson Airmen, doing something extraordinary. I see Airmen donating to charities, delivering meals to the less fortunate, speaking to church and school groups, Strike Eagle flyovers, communicators running public address for holiday parades, engineers cleaning highways and building homes, first sergeants leading food drives, and Airmen taking in and assisting others during the holidays. In return, I see our partnership with the local cities and towns grow and flourish. This commitment to one another is what makes us special. Thank you for all you do, and I look forward to seeing you around the community.