Airman's Creed embodies warrior heritage

  • Published
  • By Col. Cassandra Salvatore
  • 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron commander
I am very excited to be a part of Team Keesler and back in Mississippi. 

I began my Air Force career here more than 25 years ago and, at that time, we didn't have an Airman's Creed. In fact, the Airman's Creed is just 15 months old. First introduced on April 18, 2007, by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, it was created to instill in us a sense of pride and remind us of our warfighting heritage and our incredible history.  

To be honest, when the creed first came out, I didn't get it. In 25 years, I have seen mantras, programs and other changes come and go. For example, who remembers Total Quality Management? Or what about the service dress uniform with the striped rank on the sleeves? In addition, was I really supposed to memorize it? It has four stanzas ... 94 words! 

It took me about seven months and a deployment, but now I get it. During my deployment as the 376th Expeditionary Medical Group commander, I worked alongside fellow Airmen who were guardians of freedom and justice -- our nation's sword and shield. I participated in fallen warrior ceremonies, saluting the caskets of heroes who had defended our country with their lives. 

Our wing at the deployed location had come from a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor. It was named after the 376th Bombardment Group which served the 9th, 12th and 15th Air Forces in World War II. However, it was not until our deployed command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Sirois, challenged us to memorize the creed that it really began to resonate in my soul. Each week we memorized one stanza and would recite it at the end of our wing's senior leadership meeting. 

As I began memorizing the creed, I quickly realized the power of each phrase. I had been so wrong in my earlier thinking. General Moseley said, "Having an Airman's creed is like a blinding flash of the obvious: that it simply and concisely puts into words the warfighting spirit that exists in Airmen past and present." 

I plan to challenge my squadron's executive staff -- officers and enlisted -- to memorize the creed. We'll recite a stanza each week at the end of our weekly meeting until they have it memorized. 

Have you memorized the creed? I urge you to take a few minutes each day while you are putting on your uniform to memorize the words. Why? Because you are an American Airman, you are a warrior and you have answered your nation's call.