A Creed Worthy of Reflection

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jon Hobart
  • 97th Contracting Flight commander
Former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Mosley introduced the Airman's Creed in 2007. His introductory message explained the Air Force valued the technical proficiency of its Airmen at the expense of our, "Mission focus and warfighting orientation." He was right.

At that time, much like today, Airmen were engaged in contingency operations around the globe and needed to unite under a common identity. This new creed advanced the warrior ethos and represented a change in the way the Airmen viewed the mission. 

Shortly after Mosley's announcement, I came across another version of the Airman's Creed. It was published in The Wingspread, a publication from Misawa Air Base, Japan, dated April 10, 1953. The creed shared a page with a summary of the 466th Strategic Fighter Squadron operations officer's career and was adjacent to an illustrated cartoon that we might find politically incorrect today. This Airman's Creed served as a guide to the American Airmen fighting the communist regime in North Korea. While some of the language seems as dated as the discolored paper it is printed on, it still has value and is worthy of reflection. 

The creed starts with a resounding "I SHALL!" 

1. Always conduct myself in a manner which reflects credit upon myself, uniform and my country.

2. Salute with pride and ever hold the salute as a privilege and mark of respect.

3. Fulfill my obligations toward brother airmen.

4. Practice economy with government property and resources and shall give Uncle Sam a "fair shake for my take."

5. Maintain a military bearing at all times and show proper respect to superiors and consideration for subordinates.

6. Obey uniform regulations and maintain the high standard of personal appearance required by the Air Force and my personal pride. I shall not wear non-regulation items of uniform or uniform parts which are frayed, soiled or shrunken. I shall keep my hair neatly cut, my shoes polished, my face shaven and my person clean and neat. And I will keep my hands out of my pockets.

7. Consider the cleanliness of my quarters and this base my direct responsibility.

8. Give the grass a chance to grow. 

9.  Play fair and square with my brother airmen.

10. Be proud of being an airman and a member of the Armed Forces of my country.
Many key tenants of the 1953 Airman's Creed translate to today's force. We see elements of Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, and AFI 1-1, Air Force Culture.  We see the wisdom in fulfilling our obligations to one another and playing "fair and square." It also serves as a reminder of the pride and privilege of serving our nation.

My biggest take-away from this old Airman's Creed is a new perspective on our Air Force's proud heritage and promising future. Take the time to learn more about our Air Force history and recognize the link between our values, our mission, our heritage and the legacy that we leave to those who follow us.