By Craig Denton
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The First Term Airmen Center held its hand-off lunch Sept. 19 at the Aragon Dining Facility.
The luncheon is held monthly at the end of the FTAC course. The course provides new Airmen with briefings on financial responsibility, standards and discipline, educational opportunities and more to prepare them for duty.
“I gained a proper transition into the operational Air Force and the ability to ask questions and explore the functions of Peterson Air Force Base,” Airman 1st Class Alexander Smalldon, 21st Security Forces Squadron, said about attending FTAC. “The FTAC course also enabled me to meet other new Airmen and begin to network on base.”
During the lunch, Smalldon read a speech he wrote explaining what the uniform means to him as a first-term Airman.
The room was still as Smalldon shared his patriotic speech. The group reflected quietly on the words of “In this uniform we will fight,” and were reminded of those who gave their lives wearing the uniform.
Here is the speech Smalldon shared.
“During the birth of our great country, many men and women gave their lives in the hopes that one day their ancestors would be free and independent. As the British stormed our beaches and invaded the humble beginnings of our nation, Americans took up arms to protect their families, neighbors and lands they called their home. Although these early troops were quickly assembled, at a considerable disadvantage and possessed no proper uniforms, their sacrifice paved the way for generations of immigrants who sought refuge and prosperity in the arms of America. From the first Army uniform to the high speed multi-cam worn today in combat, every ensemble has been worn by a service member who has sworn to protect the continuation of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“Many of those heroes have paid the ultimate price while protecting freedom and justice across the globe. As first term Airmen of today departing on the beginning of a long journey, we realize the enormous boots we must fill.
“Although the colors and patterns have changed, this uniform is the bonding that transcends time. It connects us to our brothers and sisters fighting in the Middle East, our parents who fought in Vietnam, our grandparents who liberated the world and even General Washington who led our nation to independence. This uniform is paramount to any one individual. Each Soldier, Sailor, Marine and Airman has worn different stripes but have all fought for the same lineage of unity. To us this uniform is the representation of our basic rights, the ever long fight for liberty, the blood that gives us life, the charisma that makes us altruistic, the serenity of the silence when we honor the flag and the appreciation of our beloved American way of life.
“It would be an injustice to the men and women before us if our dedication to the service of our country was not heartfelt and unwavering. This uniform we have chosen to wear, these values we have promised to live by, and our Constitution we have sworn to defend, requires the dedication, discipline and commitment one must possess every hour of every day. The example of the selfless service our fallen comrades have displayed must be built upon and continued. Although they breathed their last breath fighting the good fight for freedom across the globe, their legacy will live on forever. They will never be forgotten. And in this uniform we will fight.”