Friday, January 27, 2006


To finish out tonight's round of posting, I came across an interesting couple of articles at, the Air Force's web portal. The first is a very good summary of why I've chosen to enter the military. Make no mistake about it, I'm not doing ROTC for the money (as I reference obliquely below, there are occasions where I feel like I should be doing more to "get in the fight," so to speak, by enlisting instead of going to college for 5 years...but that's a different story). Yes, that's a nice benefit, but I'm doing it because I want to serve, I want to be something bigger than myself. Actually, now that I being this subject up, I've already written on this subject as part of the Tiger program. So I'll let those two writings speak for themselves.

"I know that I want to make a career out of serving in the armed forces. Quite honestly, the scholarship and financial aid have little to do with it. They are nice, but I would still pursue a commission even if I was not awarded a scholarship. If I was unable to pursue a commission, I would enlist.

Service has always been something that is near to my heart. For me, a life without service is a life without purpose. Service gives me a feeling of belonging to something greater than myself. One of the highest forms of service is being willing to lay down your life for your fellow citizens so they do not have to. I have chosen this course of action. I want to be the one that is willing to serve so that others in our country may live free without having to defend that freedom themselves."


"I am willing to lay down my life for my fellow citizens because I do not want them to have to. I want to be the one who has made the conscious choice to sacrifice my life to defend my country and the cause of freedom so that others can make the choice not to. As an Officer in the USAF, I will swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is this Constitution which gives us all the choice to serve, or not to serve, to protest, or not to protest. The one thing all Americans have in common is the Constitution which gives us our wonderful freedom; as such, I serve to defend ALL Americans. Not just those who share my politics, and not just those of my ethnic group. I serve all Americans, whether they are black, white, or anything in between; whether they are Republican, Democrat, or a raving loony leftist. It does not matter, for they are all Americans and by that virtue, I am willing to sacrifice my life for them so they do not have to sacrifice their own."

And that's about it. That's why I want to serve, why I'm willing to pursue a profession that means I might have to lay down my life for all of our fellow citizens. Because, after all, John Stuart Mill said it best:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded
state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth war is much
worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing
which is more important than his own personal safety is a miserable creature
and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of
better men than himself."

That's a favorite of a lot of guys around Det. 250 (our AFROTC unit), and rightly so, for it sums up a lot of what we do and what we believe in.

Finally, lest any of you think the Air Force isn't getting in the fight, a few things. First, two names: SrA Jason D. Cunningham, and TSgt. John Chapman. The medal citations speak for themselves. Second, the reason for bringing this subject up: a series of pictures I also found on Here's a link to the pictures, and here's a select few that I feel convey the message.

Images that we see too often, but this time, if you were able to look closely at the uniforms, you would notice one difference. These fighting men wear the insignia of the USAF. In case you were wondering, these photographs were taken at a memorial service for TSgt. Jason L. Norton and SSgt. Brian McElroy, two Security Forces airmen who were killed a few days ago by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

(As a programming note to my regular readers, scroll down a bit, because I've done a lot of posting tonight, quite a bit more than my usual norm.)

Thanks to Mudville's open post!