A Reflection On Service

  • Published
  • By Col. Frank L. Amodeo
  • 403rd Wing
  I have served as a U.S. Air Force Officer for 29 years.  I have been to nearly 50 countries.  Many of my proudest moments involved great Airmen doing truly incredible things to make the greatest Air Force our world has ever known even better.  I am proud of our flag, country, constitution and freedoms, as well as the diversity of our nation.  But why do I serve?

  After 17 years into my career, I had not experienced combat and faced an enemy.  I remember on the third day of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in March 2003 my crew and I flew from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia well into Iraq. The Airmen, aircraft, maintenance, procedures, training, morale and support all provided for me the confidence to know I was ready. 
  Another Aircraft Commander pushed back on some missions because "there were real threats" and he and his aircraft "may get shot at."  He received the same training at the unit as I.  Maybe the difference was I was preparing for missions I hoped to never fly while he had another agenda in the Air Force Reserve?  Maybe he never thought about combat or truly reflected on service?

  Turning to a perspective from other service members in other countries, I was honored recently to be a mentor for the International Junior Officer Leadership Development course in Germany.  I spent time with reservists from Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.  It is sobering to hear these allies, partners, and friends see their profession of arms very similar to ours, but with two significantly glaring and well-articulated differences--their enemies (our enemies) are much closer and their countries rely on U.S. partnership.  I was inspired by their commitment!  As part of a better funded, equipped and nationally supported military than our NATO partners and friends, I am more dedicated than ever to be ready should our nation again call me to go into harm's way.

  When we reflect on service beyond patriotism, honor, and tradition, we should ask, "Am I ready for all that it means to 'fly, fight and win' in the range of military operations?