Past Presidents Provide Perspective

  • Published
  • By Col. Brian Newberry
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander
For the Air Force, 2014 is a year of opportunity and challenge. Certainly January has been challenging as we learned and continue to work through our force shaping initiatives to move ourselves to a more modern and lethal Air Force by 2023.

As we move into February, Presidents Day is a time for reflection for me. This year, we can find a small degree of hope and optimism by contrasting current times with the enormous challenges our Founding Fathers faced. More plainly, the enormity of their tasks immediately gives me a better perspective on my own personal challenges and those of the Wing.

Author David McCullough's book, John Adams, provides a unique perspective on what the early presidents faced in the founding of our republic. As if just going to the grocery store with a list of needed groceries, John Adams, a Founding Father and the second U.S. president, penned notes to himself on what needed to be accomplished while traveling to the Continental Congress in 1776 with his horse and carriage. Among the more daunting tasks: 1) An Alliance to be formed with France and Spain; 2) Government to be formed in every colony; 3) Forces to be raised and maintained; and 4) a Declaration of Independency. In each of these tasks, Adams and his colleagues, including George Washington, were successful.

To paraphrase President Lincoln, they created a government of the people, by the people, for the people, that shall not perish from this earth.

While each of us has everyday challenges, and certainly some of the force shaping initiatives are life changing for our Airmen, Adams' notes to himself remind us that our personal challenges are clearly winnable.

Today, Team Fairchild continues to Fuel Freedom around the world, providing Global Reach for America while also accomplishing a variety of other difficult mission sets, including supporting our 336th Training Group teaching Airmen to Return With Honor. Each one of us here on this exceptional base are important ingredients in that winning recipe! Whether you are a boom operator offloading fuel, a defender guarding the posts, a maintainer working the flightline or a medic fueling our health, we are all important components ensuring our great country does not perish from this earth.

So, as we pause for a moment Feb. 17 to remember the great accomplishments of Presidents' Washington and Lincoln, we should also pause to be thankful that our immediate task next week is not to figure out how to have "Forces raised and maintained!"

Whatever our own duties, we should come to work confident that our goals are clearly achievable, and each of us, in a small way, support the vision for America that our Founding Fathers first had more than two hundred years ago. These great men aimed to form a nation...instead they changed a world.

Similarly, Fairchild Airmen actively defend freedom daily and in doing so, we too change write our own legacy of excellence and remain part of the movement our Founding Fathers started more than 238 years ago to march to freedom. As we soar through 2014, Presidents Day should provide perspective that we are still part of that noble movement, and our goals, our hopes and dreams are absolutely still achievable, and not nearly as insurmountable as our Founding Fathers endured.