Preparing to Fight

  • Published
  • By Maj Calvin Daniels
  • 97th Force Support Squadron Commander
One of my enduring memories from the United States Air Academy is the intramural sport of boxing. This is a sport which literally prepares one for conflict, in fairly measured exchanges which nevertheless can be mentally and physically draining. One has to fight in order to defend oneself. Our new Air Force Motto, "Aim high . . . Fly, Fight, and Win" offers a direct reference to the core tenet of what our mission is - to fight. Our wing mission makes it still clearer, with martial references to "combat" mobility and Airmen "warriors."

As a supervisor, officer, and commander, I try to ultimately maintain the profession of arms. It has, as a common denominator across services, the threat of conflict; not in the abstract, not in the ephemeral but as a struggle between hostile forces with grave intent. What this means is discharging our duties in the most professional means possible in a zero sum effort where success can be measured in lives saved, and failure meted out in lives lost. Combat Arms Training and Maintenance, or CATM training prepares us to shoot straighter than the enemy. Better trained mobility pilots can get critically needed resources to troops on the ground in harm's way, or get badly needed support to positions under siege. Conversely, the better trained we are to successfully engage the enemy, the better our chances at deterring them from action at all.

There is a common thread which runs from the tip of that spear all the way to the end of the shaft in every effort associated with supporting the wing's mission to forge combat mobility forces and deploy Airman warriors. Well trained Airmen, well maintained aircraft, well prepared meals, well counseled Airmen, and well supported families all comprise a means to the same ends of maximizing our ability to forge forces ready for combat and deploy Airmen ready for war. It's not always easy or convenient and, depending on the situation, can be even tough and painful, like those seemingly unending rounds of intramural boxing from years ago. Long days, weekends, exercises, training, and TDYs away from our loved ones are part of our duty, but if executed in good faith toward advancing the wing's mission, will in some measure tip the scale when we're called upon to protect the virtues of freedom and the lives of all who seek it.