Command: No Greater Honor
By Colonel Victor Moncrieffe, 11th Security Forces Group
/ Published May 26, 2016
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
Since commissioning I have desired to lead Airmen. I believe, commanding Airmen is the greatest honor any commissioned officer can achieve. The privilege and honor of being responsible for the successes and failures of American patriots serving something bigger than themselves, in the noblest occupation known to man, is unprecedented.
That said, the mission of defending our nation is job number one. It is the primary reason we serve and develop the weapon systems we do, and by doing so, continue to uphold the principles which make our great country free. But as a leader, once you realize that your Airmen are the ultimate weapon system and that developing, caring and trusting the Airmen you serve equates to mission success, your focus becomes very clear. Take care of your Airmen and they will take care of the mission.
In my 22 years of donning the uniform of our country, the Airmen I have served never cease to amaze me. Regardless of the environment, lack of resources or the dangers associated with the mission, when asked, our Airmen will always perform to the best of their abilities. I know this because I have had the pleasure of seeing this first hand. As a lieutenant, on the plains of Montana, my Airmen did the ominous job of ensuring the deterrent was safe, secure and reliable in some of the most austere environments. As a major, I witnessed Airmen strive to make their dreams of becoming cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy come true by enduring the academic and physical rigors associated with acceptance to this institution. In the deserts of Iraq, I thought of my Airmen daily as they left the safety of the installation responding to reports of improvised explosive devices and searched for weapons caches outside the wire. And, even here at America's Airfield as a full colonel, I've seen Airmen execute numerous National Special Security Events, an air show and other no-fail missions with precision and the utmost professionalism. Despite the many reasons and circumstances that bring people from diverse backgrounds into our Air Force, when our nation calls our Airmen will always answer.
As I conclude my leadership tour and contemplate that this may be the last time I hold the title of "commander", I am both grateful and humbled to a nation and an Air Force that granted me the wonderful opportunity on multiple occasions to lead Airmen. I can recall the promotions, awards, disappointments and both personal and professional accomplishments that my Airmen have attained and I am thankful just to have been a small part of their experience. As I think of my own successes I have had throughout my career, each one can be traced back to the hard work and sacrifices of those I led and served...the American Airmen. Even after more than 25 years of continued operations overseas and with constrained resources, our Airmen are making the impossible possible every day because failure is not in their creed. And as the torch of leadership is passed on from my generation to the next, I am encouraged by the fact that those officer and enlisted leaders coming after me will be more than prepared to take our Air Force to even greater heights because they care about their families, our nation, our Air Force, and fellow Airman.
So to you... future leader... commander..., know that there is no greater honor than leading Airmen. Use your rank and position to develop your Airmen, execute the mission and leave the institution better than you found it. Command is a sacred responsibility that our Air Force has entrusted to you that can never be taken lightly nor should it be squandered. Live up to your responsibilities as a leader, rely on your moral compass to stay grounded and stay true to our core values. If you do these three simple things your Airmen will fly, fight and ultimately... win!