Drawing the circle wider

Col. Susan Sower
37th Transportation Command commander

Seeing all of the 21st Theater Support Command sergeant majors at the commissary early Saturday morning before Thanksgiving, solidified for me — one more time — just how special the folks are that serve in the military. Without any fanfare — these leaders gathered to distribute Thanksgiving dinner fixings to junior enlisted families who have multiple kids and are on a tight budget. Similarly, events just like this, where people are helping people are happening all over the KMC community.

The principle mission of those of us who wear the uniform is to “fight and win the Nation’s wars” — but there’s so much more to being in the service than that. The foundation that underlies our calling of service to our country and to each other is built upon values-based people. The former Chief of Staff of the Army General Eric Shinsekei declared, “Soldiers are the cornerstone of our formation.” Indeed, the military of the United States of America may have the mightiest machines and weapons in the world, like the M-1 Abrams tank or the Stealth Bomber — but it’s the people behind these machines with whom I’m so proud to be associated. These are the Americans who are willing to leave their loved ones and potentially lay down their lives for the security of their country and their fellow citizens. These are people who commit themselves to something larger than their core family unit.

I was raised as an “Army Brat” and perhaps took it for granted that our military communities took care of each other by volunteering to help at schools or collecting toys for less fortunate children for Christmas, or by giving generously through the Combined Federal Campaign — even when we didn’t make a whole lot. Now that I’m older — and have seen more of life — I realize that we are a special breed of Americans who become Soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines. These people and their families instinctively serve not only their country, but are generally willing to “lend a hand” to help others. As I look around this community — and see various groups doing fund raisers for the Fisher Houses, working with the youth groups, collecting money to support the high school sports programs, and families sending packages downrange to cheer friends in the desert — I can’t help but think that we are very close to finding the real meaning of our existence.

In one of my favorite quotes from Albert Schweitzer, he explained, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know; the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

So, as I reflect on the year that’s just past, I’m proud and grateful to be associated with my brothers and sisters who serve. It’s scenes like the sergeant majors donating their Saturday mornings to ensure that Soldiers have what they need to really celebrate Thanksgiving — that motivates me, once more, to do my best everyday. I, too, want to widen the circle I draw around myself to include more and more people in my extended family. Happy New Year from the 37th TRANSCOM! May your many blessings continue.