Commentary by Capt. Mike Aamold
50th Security Forces Squadron
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. The moral: It doesn’t matter if you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better be running.”
When I began thinking about this month’s Year of Leadership focus, I thought long and hard about what words I could say that would capture the true essence of what “Warrior Ethos” means to me. Within the Air Force over the last several years, concerted focus has been placed upon on instilling a warrior ethos and culture in its Airman. Just type the words “warrior ethos” into any internet search engine and you will have more findings than you will know what to do with. Instead, I decided on a different approach, which was to focus on the above anonymous quote and correlate it to the warrior ethos mentality that we strive for in today’s Air Force.
The way I see it, having a warrior ethos is not something you wake up with one day and all of a sudden it’s there, pulsing through your veins. Like both the gazelle and the lion, it’s something that’s instinctual; something impressed and imprinted upon a person’s character and psyche when they are young. It’s a fire inside of you that never fades and continues to burn even during the darkest and roughest of times. It’s that “fire” which carries you through all of life’s battles.
Without a doubt in my mind, this warrior ethos mentality instinctually makes up the fiber of our nation’s all-volunteer military force. And in turn, this warrior ethos is what makes the 50th Space Wing truly a “Warrior’s Wing”. Whether your time is spent tracking and monitoring GPS satellites, formulating and constructing the physical footprint of Schriever AFB or standing vigilant at a security post and preparing to deploy “downrange”, this mentality, this warrior ethos, instinctually guides us through everything we do in this wing. Continuing to mold, cultivate and nurture your personal warrior ethos will only help resonate the 50th SW mission across the world to our warfighters downrange so that they have the critical information and data needed to carry out their missions.
The warrior ethos concept is about the need to be better every day, just like the gazelle and the lion. The performance you have today will only be as good as today; you still have to get up the next day and perform once more. One of my former instructors at the Security Forces Ground Defense Command Course would always tell our class after an exam or progress check, “good job class; that was the best seen to date”. The bottom line is what you did today, will not be the same tomorrow; so get ready.
It is your responsibility as member of the Air Force and the 50th SW to always keep yourself sharp, alert and invigorated. You can’t afford to be lax in your endeavors, the task or mission at hand. Constant work on your personal and professional warrior ethos will only better yourself and the 50 SW. Strive to be at the head of the pack.
Remember, if you aren’t running, you aren’t eating, you’re being eaten.