Honor is tradition for the US AF

by Lt. Col. Samuel L. Jobe 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron

There are 10 different definitions for the word “honor” listed in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. I believe the two that apply best to those of us who serve are: “a keen sense of ethical conduct” and “one whose worth brings respect or fame.”

The word honor is all over the place in the Air Force. It is in the Airman’s Creed in the line “a tradition of honor.” The new Little Blue Book states that practicing the virtues contained in the Air Force Core Values “results in habits of honorable thought and action.” It is found in many books and articles describing the history of the Air Force, including those written by and about the heroes who wove the legacy of honor into how most Americans view our Air Force today.

The bottom line is that honor is a foundation in our Air Force, from those who came before us to those of us serving today, and it will continue to be for those we will welcome in the future.

As a squadron commander, when I meet a new member of our unit I’m thankful to lead such a diverse group of Airmen. We support a very diverse set of missions, which is why my squadron is comprised of 78 percent total force deployers.

To enable rapid global mobility on Ramstein, the 313th Expeditionary Operations Sup-port Squadron is responsible for command and control of Air Mobility Command aircraft transiting Ramstein, aeromedical evacuation east of the continental U.S., intelligence and tactics briefings for aircrews and aircrew flight equipment support for the AMC crews.

We also have a cyber flight that is responsible for maintaining the command and control systems for our area of responsibility as well as the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing servers, allowing AMC aircraft to conduct their missions across six time zones in an area spanning 5,000 miles.

Finally, we even have mobile security teams from the Phoenix Raven program who travel to austere airfields to provide security for mobility aircraft while they are on the ground.

With a squadron comprised largely of deployers, there are many challenges associated with a continually rotating force of active-duty, Reserve and Guard Airmen. Continuity is number one, followed shortly by the challenge of promoting a positive squadron culture and morale.

As I reflect on those challenges, I am quickly overcome by the fact that no matter how “different” they all are, every member has certain values in common. In fact, as a total force, we all share many of the same attributes; honor is one of them.

With the definition of honor in mind, what I’ve appreciated in the few short months I have commanded the 313th is that no matter where we all come from, and no matter if we are active-duty, Reserve or Guard, honor is evident in our daily actions. This is not a surprise; I have seen it throughout my career. It’s one of the qualities I love about those who serve with me.

I’m proud to say the tradition of honor lives on in those around me. I see it every day. The legacy of honor was created by and lives on from those who came before us. I’m honored to be a part of the greatest Air Force in the world.