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January Commander's Corner

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Ferrario, the 157th Fighter Squadron commander

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Ferrario, the 157th Fighter Squadron commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, Dec. 4, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

We all joined the United States military for a reason. It is not just another job. Everyone on this base has a different story for how and why they ended up here in the SCANG, but I am certain that all the stories and reasons have a common thread: desire to serve our country. There are certainly additional motives, but the shared value of service is what holds us together. Sometimes, it is difficult to see exactly what our service means or how a task that we are doing really gives service to our country. However, this past summer and the year that is coming, provide the perfect perspective on what your service means.

Our primary duty in the 169th Fighter Wing is to project combat airpower around the globe and support others that are projecting combat airpower. We did this last summer in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility with the aviation package that supported Operation Inherent Resolve in Southwest Asia and will continue to do it with our continuous Agile Combat Support packages. Everything that each of you does should go toward supporting that primary duty. Whether or not you deployed, you are preparing Airmen for combat. The fight doesn’t happen if Airmen and aircraft are not ready and their family, finances, and health are not taken care of. This also means that you take ownership of the accomplishments. Your service enabled the fight in continuing the defeat of ISIS this summer. Make no mistake, bombs were placed on targets and enemies of our nation (and humanity) because of your enabling labors. There is a lot of gray in this world. ISIS does not fall into this category. It is an evil organization that history will judge harshly. Take pride in your role in eradicating them. It is not often in our lives that we can be a part of something that makes the world a better place for our children. This is the service we all joined the military to do.   

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day or drill-to-drill grind at McEntire. We all have jobs and duties that keep the machine operating. Nearly all of us have had jobs that we questioned the validity of or thought had no application to the mission. I’d like you to pause and think about your job. Did it contribute to the defeat of ISIS by preparing Airmen or their machines? It probably did. In some cases, you may think your job did not advance the mission of projecting combat airpower. You may be right! Take ownership in our mission and your role in it. Talk to your commander about your ideas to make us a more efficient machine. Don’t accept serving in a capacity that does not enable our primary mission.

While every job at home enables success at a deployed location, you may feel the need to get closer to the fight. I strongly encourage you to do it. You will find nothing more rewarding (and challenging) in your career than a deployment to support a combat mission. If you’ve never deployed or it has been a long time, get in the fight! Talk to your commander. There is always a need for motivated Airmen to project airpower and serve our country.

Semper Primus