CC establishes 4 FW 'pillars'
By Col. Steve Kwast, 4th Fighter Wing commander
/ Published September 28, 2006
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
It is important for the 4th Fighter Wing to step back from the rush of everyday commitments and obligations...and reflect on the larger reasons we serve. It is important because we all need to recharge our spirits from time to time and revitalize our commitment to protecting freedom. We need to reflect on the dreams of our fore fathers and look beyond the years so we understand what it is we fight for. We need to connect our efforts here, with what our nation expects during this time of war.
This is important because this war posses the most fundamental threat to our American way of life. We must be ready to fight and win.
As we stand at the leading edge of this war on terror, behind us and beside us stand the spirit, ingenuity, hard work, and mortal sacrifice of our ancestors. We must never forget that we did not get to this point in history by chance. It is no mistake that we are the most powerful fighting force in the history of mankind. It is no accident that we dominate the global arena defending freedom. We are here because generations before us have forged it with their blood. They sacrificed their loves, their futures, and their lives to bring us to this point...and with it comes with a sacred obligation.
We must dedicate ourselves to fulfilling their charge. We must resolve to never rest until victory is secure. We must relentlessly prepare ourselves to overcome any unexpected attacks perpetrated against our nation.
There is a very simple strategy for success in this seemingly daunting undertaking. It has nothing to do with our weapons, tactics, or procedures. It has been present in all successful causes. It transcends all barriers. It overcomes all obstacles and it snatches victory from even the deepest despair. It is the development of your character to achieve the full potential of the human spirit.
The only sure way to deliver airpower for our nation is to prepare ourselves by shaping our character. In my view there are four pillars of character that we must develop.
Humility: Humble people tell the truth because they have nothing to hide. We must start by telling the truth in all things. Integrity must be at the core. Humility also keeps us honest with ourselves. We can never adapt and overcome our enemies unless we are honest about our own weaknesses. If we don't, our enemy will. History is full of examples of great warriors with superior skills encountering defeat on the battlefield because they were too proud and arrogant to recognize their own weaknesses. Humility keeps us honest and ensures victory in battle.
Nobility: We must hold ourselves to a higher standard of personal and professional behavior on and off duty because we are serving a higher calling and stand for something bigger than ourselves. Additionally, conducting our lives with nobility keeps us forever vigilant so that we are ready to fight 24/7. Nobility also brings honor to those who died to give us freedom. Every action in your life should bring honor to you, your family name, your uniform and your nation.
Veracity: A warrior spirit of tenacity, resilience and determination is essential in this profession of arms. We must be our nation's terrible swift sword and fight our enemies with no mercy. This spirit must show in the way we approach our jobs. The job MUST be done right, by the book every time. There can be no exception.
Compassion: The most lethal warriors throughout time have been those thoughtful men and women who have the highest compassion for their countrymen. This is the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting through the darkest hours of despair until victory is at hand. If you really care for your fellow American, then you will fight to the death. Warriors show this compassion by the way they treat every person they meet with the same dignity, respect, and honor regardless of race, religion, rank or position. Real warriors treat others as they want to be treated.
Practicing these attributes each day, in the small tasks of life, forge within us the habit patterns that will unfold these same attributes under great duress as we are asked to win American's wars.
Let us re-dedicate our lives to these higher principles that called us all to serve our country in the first place. Let us revitalize our self discipline to get up each day looking for a way to make ourselves better stewards of freedom. Let us re-energize our sense of obligation to work hard and make a difference in the lives of those we serve.
The small quiet victories of discipline, self control, and selflessness we practice each and every day are what ultimately determine the rise or fall of our cause as Americans.
We must understand that the sustainment of freedom in America lies in the character that we forge within ourselves each and every day. Victory in tomorrow's battle space hinges on our daily personal victories to shape a more noble character. We can only be worthy of this great calling...to serve freedom and liberty for America....if we stay true to these principles. May God bless all of you who put service to country above the soft comforts of an easy life. May the precious gold that lies within each of you be refined into pure nobleness. And may God protect the warriors and families of this great community of Americans. Make no mistake...the enemy is at our doorstep with evil intentions. There is no time to waste...let's get to work.