Maintainers foster "Warrior Ethos" by revisiting history

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

In 2022, the chief of Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, Lt. Gen. John Healy released Task Order 2022, which prioritized readiness and transformation. He charged commanders to cultivate unit cohesiveness and a combat mentality and develop Airmen with a warrior ethos prepared for any conflict.

Col. William Magee, 403rd Maintenance Group commander, took that to task.

Twelve of his group leaders toured Jackson Barracks, the headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, their historic grounds, the Louisiana Air National Guard Museum, and the National World War II Museum Feb. 28-29.

“This event’s purpose was to enhance the warrior ethos of the chief master sergeants and officers,” said Magee, explaining that the U.S. Air Force defines a warrior ethos as “tough-mindedness, tireless motivation, an unceasing vigilance, a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the country, if necessary, and commitment to be the world’s premier air, space and cyberspace force.”

To enhance their learning experience, the group had homework prior to the visit. The required reading assignment: Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle that Shaped America’s Destiny. Brian Kilmeade’s book highlights Jackson, a citizen soldier, one of America’s greatest generals and the seventh president of the United States. It delved into his career, impacts to the nation, and how he exuded warrior ethos, said Magee.

For the visit, Maj. Robert Terrazas, the 403rd Maintenance Operations Flight officer in charge and project officer for the team-building event, organized the event around the historical accounts of Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson.

“We wanted the event to be educational and teach us some history and lessons from past leaders in the area and we landed on General Jackson and the War of 1812 and designed the event around those subjects,” said Terrazas. “We chose to focus on General Jackson because he was a militia general, which is where our Reserve heritage comes in. The book was great and helped set our frame of mind for the trip.”

On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britian. The conflict lasted from 1812 to 1815 over issues such as trade, the forced conscription of men into British military service, and British support of Indigenous attacks on the American frontier. The British planned to invade New Orleans to gain control of the Mississippi River and the trade of the South and West. General Jackson, who hailed what from the Carolinas and nicknamed “Old Hickory” for his toughness, defended the region, and defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans Jan. 8, 1815.

The group of maintainers toured Jackson Barracks, established in 1834 and renamed in the honor of Andrew Jackson in 1866. They also attended lunch with the Louisiana National Guard Adjutant General Brig. Gen Thomas Friloux and concluded the day with a visit to the historical Chalmette Battlefield where General Jackson defeated the British.

On the second day, the group visited the National World War II Museum, which tells the story of the war that changed the world, and the active-duty, national guard and reserve members who served.

“I like that museum because it’s very person focused,” said Terrazas. “They assign you somebody to follow throughout the war and when you go through the exhibits you scan your card, and then you see what your person was doing at that point in the war, and it makes it more personal versus just talking about the overall events of the war. All the artifacts in there are very personal and it really makes you think more about it and the impacts on that generation of men and women.

The required reading and historical tours made an impact.

“It was a valuable experience to learn about the constraints servicemembers faced during the war of 1812, how the British underestimated their forces, which worked in their favor, and how Andrew Jackson led by example and wasn’t afraid to put himself in the same situation as his troops,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Linthicum, 40rd Maintenance Squadron. “The trip provided insight into how and why the general was an effective leader."

“My takeaway from the trip is nothing is more important to a unit’s success than having a good leader,” said the group commander.