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Air Force pride

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Last week I had the privilege to attend a retirement ceremony for an Airman that had just completed two decades of service. It was during this ceremony that I reflected on why I am so proud to serve my country in the armed services and why the Air Force is such a great place to spend 20 years of service. 

The first thing that came to mind during my reflection was the people that I serve with day to day. As a whole, the Air Force seems to attract the best and brightest our country has to offer. 

It never ceases to amaze me at how talented and motivated our newest Airmen are to serve our country. People from all walks of life come together for a common cause; to make a difference. For example, right here at Offutt we have Airmen serving in a myriad of duties from writing contracts that ensure our installation stays up and running, to our aircrews serving from above, protecting our interest at home and abroad. 

Many of these Airmen are unseen by the general public and don't receive the fanfare that Hollywood bestows to a small percentage of the Air Force, but that doesn't stop these warriors from being the best at what they do. For these Airmen, knowing that the work they do makes an impact is a reward that few are able to experience. 

I can personally convey that I am grateful for these unsung heroes that continue to inspire me and make me proud to be an Airman. For many of us, it was these Airmen and the positive interactions with them that kept us in the Air Force for more than 20 years. 

In addition, the attention we commit to quality of life in the Air Force is second to none. 

What other organization devotes so much time and energy making sure that the services and resources they provide to everyone is the best that can be offered? I'm not knocking the corporations that cater to only a select few, but what I can share is that I am glad that our Air Force leadership places so much emphasis on the most important resource we have, and that is our people. 

Lastly, as I watched the awards and keepsakes being presented to the retiring Airman, I was grateful for our Air Force wingman culture. In layman's terminology, it can be best defined as a tradition of caring for one another without hesitation. 

We as Airmen are not perfect, but we have each other, and over the years I have witnessed first-hand the improvements we have made in this arena. I'm not sure if any other organization places so much emphasis on this subject, but I am glad that we do. 

The Air Force will never stop trying to improve itself, because change is constant in the Air Force. And based on what I have seen in my own 20 years of service, the Air Force is only going to get better.