It's time to dare and endure

  • Published
  • By Col. Terri Jonew
  • 97 Mission Support Group
Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, once said, "This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure." The U.K. faced an existential threat during WWII, with the fate of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region hanging in the balance. While one can argue that current threats such as terrorism, extremism and pandemic disease do not rise to the level of "existential" threat, they certainly require U.S. commitment.  Thoughts of a possible interwar period, such as that between WWI and WWII after we withdrew from Iraq and reduced the number of forces in Afghanistan, have been replaced with a realization that the world remains a dangerous place, and U.S. involvement, including that of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, is needed now more than ever, whether it be to fight extremists in Iraq or Ebola in West Africa.

As we learned after Sept. 11, 2001, Afghanistan had been a perfect environment for terrorists to train, plan and launch attacks on the U.S. and its allies. A functioning government with adequate infrastructure and ability to defend itself from both internal and external threats is necessary to ensure a country is able to fend off groups looking for a place to set up shop. Countries whose governments struggle to function properly need outside assistance as they continue to build their capacity, and we need to ensure they do not become fertile breeding grounds for terrorists. When the situation began to deteriorate recently in Iraq, the U.S. Air Force answered the call, employing air power including humanitarian relief airdrops. You can take pride in knowing that every U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft and U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft aircrew that participated in those missions honed their skills right here at Altus Air Force Base.

If anyone doubted the importance and applicability of globalization, they learned recently that a deadly disease on the other side of the earth can reach our shores within a matter of hours and spread if left unchecked. The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and subsequent spread to the U.S. presents a threat to our national security and requires immediate intervention. While we have the most sophisticated and capable medical system in the world, without intervention at the source, the disease could spread quickly to and through the U.S.  Once again, the U.S. Air Force and Altus Air Force Base are on the front lines. In addition to our aircraft and aircrews who recently completed missions to West Africa, other Altus AFB Airmen are on their way to the region to do their part. The work our brave men and women, military and civilian, are doing to control the disease in Africa is the reason we will not experience an uncontrollable outbreak here in the U.S.

The uncertainty and danger of the global environment continues, even as it shifts from region-to-region and country-to-country. U.S. military involvement around the globe appears certain for the foreseeable future and rightfully so. Our vast resources and exceptionally trained and equipped military keep us in a position of leadership as we fight threats to the global community. In order to ensure freedom for generations to come, there is no time for ease and comfort, only time to dare and endure...forging combat mobility forces...deploying Airman warriors.