“Bring me warriors…”

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Vincent Becklund
  • 20th SOS commander
Several years ago, the U.S. Air Force Academy made a decision to remove the quote "Bring me men" from a prominent location on Academy grounds.

While the debate focused on the words and their historical context, the author's message somehow seemed overshadowed by the controversy. Simply speaking, "Bring me men" translates easily to "Bring me warriors," a message the special operations community has embraced for years.

This simple proclamation defines the Air Commando heritage and provides vision regarding our mission ... to fight and win our nation's wars.

For many, the word warrior might seem exclusive; beckoning only to a select group of steely-eyed individuals, but in reality, anyone can become a warrior by developing three simple attributes professionalism, toughness and esprit de corps.

In the Air Force, our senior leaders define professionalism simply as integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

This means whether you work in the military personnel flight, crew a PAVE LOW helicopter in combat or work on the flight line, know your job, uphold high standards and conduct yourself in a way that will make those you love proud.

Attitude is the key to professionalism. Everyone knows what it looks like, but a warrior works hard every day to demonstrate it.

War is a tough business, but a professional Airman makes great efforts to elevate his behavior and maintains high standards; don't let external pressures derail these efforts.

While professionalism provides a warrior's shine, it takes effort to put spit in the polish. Mental and physical toughness are essential for a fight-and-win attitude, and a warrior needs both.

A high tempo expeditionary lifestyle defines an Air Commando's existence and it takes enduring mental toughness to make it in this business. Any time, any place isn't just our motto, it's our promise.

Don't let deployment orders catch you off guard. Expect and mentally prepare for these contingencies so when they arrive your warrior spirit shines through.

Additionally, the harsh environment and unrelenting 24 hours a day, seven days a week work schedule demanded at many of our deployed locations requires a level of physical toughness surpassing the minimums of the annual Air Force physical fitness test.

A warrior defines his toughness through an elevated bar set by himself, not against an artificial bar set by others. Expect more of yourself and achieve it.

Finally, a deep commitment for others is also necessary. It is essential that a warrior encourage esprit de corps within his unit and among his peers.

While America's support for its troops has been strong, it's the warrior who bares the wartime burden of long deployments, family separations and the loss of friends who pay the ultimate price for freedom. Without this sacred bond between warriors, these burdens might seem insurmountable.

Instead, the esprit de corps exhibited among warriors cements their shared commitment to the mission and each other. Warriors don't PCS from a unit; instead they leave friends, now considered family, with the hope of one day returning home. Ensure you create these bonds and foster these commitments.

So, do you want to be an Air Force Special Operations Command warrior? Then professionalism, toughness and esprit de corps should become your focus.

Whether you command a squadron or are the newest AFSOC member on base, developing these warrior attributes is essential for ensuring AFSOC's fight-and-win heritage lives on.