Tag Archives: US Air Force Academy

Waldo Canyon fire

Waldo Canyon Fire

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Agency

As the Waldo Canyon fire engulfed the U.S. Air Force Academy has continued, base residents some U.S. Air Force Academy campus residents were evacuated to safety June 26, 2012, Colorado Springs, Colo. Experience this force of nature from the perspective of an Academy photographer with these captivating images.

Photo: A tremendous smoke cloud builds around the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 26, 2012. Winds in excess of 65 mph created billowing and rapidly building smoke from the local Waldo Canyon fire. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Kaplan)

Adm. Mullen’s Address to Academy Grads–The Only Thing That Matters is Duty

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered the remarks to the graduating class of the United States Air Force Academy on May 26, 2010. DoD Live has video and the links to the full ceremony here. Below is the text of his speech.

I had the honor today of addressing the graduating class of 2010 from the United States Air Force Academy. They and a select group of college graduates throughout the country are receiving a diploma this month and then raising their hand to defend our nation. As I fly back home to Washington now, it is to these young men and women entering our military that I wish to impart some of the same time-tested advice I gave our newest Air Force officers.

In a word, it’s about duty.

Your first duty is to learn your jobs, and learn them well. Know them cold. Know them better than your peers, better even than your superiors. Stay ahead of the technology and the trends, because you are going to be on the leading edge of that change.

You are going to be responsible for making sure those you command and those you serve are informed and able to make the best decisions they can, often with little or no notice. You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Become an expert. That is the most meaningful way a junior officer can contribute to the mission.

Your second duty is to lead. And there’s a lot that goes into that, I know. Let me just tell you a little of what it means to me. It means loyalty. And loyalty must be demonstrated to seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. It must never be blind. Few things are more important to an organization than people who have the moral courage to question the direction in which the organization is headed and then the strength of character to support whatever final decisions are made.

Leadership also requires integrity. You may, at times, prove better than your word, but you will rarely prove better than your actions. The high standards by which you measure your own personal behavior and that of others, say more about you and your potential than any statements you make or guidance you give. You should strive to conduct yourself always in such a manner that it can never be said that you demanded less of yourself or of the men and women in your charge than that which is expected of you by your families or your countrymen.

A leader today must likewise think creatively. She should be able to place herself outside the problems immediately before her and look at them from a fresh perspective. While great decisions can be made in the heat of battle, great ideas are usually born in the ease of quiet. You must find the quiet to let your imaginations soar.

And that brings me to your final duty — to listen. You must listen to yourselves, to your instincts. You must also prove capable of listening to others, of trying to see problems through the perspectives of our allies, our partners, and our friends all over the world. No one military, no one nation, can do it alone anymore. It’s why I sat cross-legged in a shura with tribal elders in Afghanistan. It’s why our troops in that war-torn country are working so hard to speak the language and understand the culture.

Finally, remember that graduation and commissioning represent only the end of the beginning of your education. The world is now your classroom. Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines are now your teachers. They and their families are the best they’ve ever been: talented, eager, and proud of what they are doing.

Take full advantage of their knowledge to improve yours. Show them your loyalty, and they will show you theirs. Demonstrate integrity in everything you do, and they will respect you. You represent the values they have — throughout our history — struggled to defend. Only by earning the support of those you lead can you ever truly hope to become a leader yourself.

Only by doing your duty — straight and true — can you hope to prove worthy of the trust this nation places in you today.

Best of luck to you all, God bless and congratulations.

– Adm. Mike Mullen

Air Force Week–Salt Lake City

Due to some technical issues, these stories from last week’s Air Force Week are running a bit late. Thanks to 2nd Lt. Shannon Laubenthal for reporting from Air Force Week and sharing these posts with us.

LUNCH BUNCH Falconaires Concert @ SLC Gallivan Center

The Wasatch Front is an explosion of military connections between service members old and new, past and present. Air Force Week Salt Lake City is home to infinite venues in which such connections are fostered and continued.

Such was the case on Tuesday afternoon. The Air Force Academy Band Falconaires’ jazz tunes and big band sounds, in addition to the park-like, summer setting of the Gallivan Center, catered to a unique social scene.  Many sauntered in and out of the concert, while others sat and enjoyed lunch with coworkers and comrades. Recruiters manned their posts near the Air Force Super Car and other promotional pursuits, while patrons struck up conversations with fellow attendees.

One such conversation was a discussion between a brand new military member and a soldier of yesteryear named Fred. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1947. Fred served a short three years, but like many veterans of his era, he could easily write a novel about his time. He was trained in electronics and started his time in Guam, working primarily with the Emergency Rescue Squadron.

After moving through several states, Fred eventually settled as a civil servant. He has since retired and now lives in the Salt Lake City area near three of his children. His present-day connection to the military resides in several areas, one of which is through collecting Air Force art. Another is listening to the playing of live music, from the era when he served.

A great venue, great scene, and great atmosphere… The phenomenal summer setting was the perfect backdrop for a conversation with a new Air Force connection.

IMAX MOVIE: “Fighter Pilot” @ Clark Planetarium

As we settled ourselves in front of the massive IMAX screen at Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, there were mixed expectations as to how our pilot community would be portrayed by the movie, “Fighter Pilot.” Their career field is, after all, an Airman’s reason for being; all of our efforts and support ultimately exist to sustain our flying, fighting, and winning through ‘Airpower.’

“Fighter Pilot” allowed the audience to extend its appreciation for our fighters in the sky—their intense training, dedicated time, and finely tuned talents are awe inspiring. Watching the IMAX big-screen flick as it focused on two weeks of their training—a small slice of time in the grand scheme of their career. Audiences are exposed to their efforts, with support from their maintenance counterparts, allowing us to put a few of the pieces of the intricate Air Force operations puzzle together.

The IMAX movie was another excellent showcase of America’s Airmen, enabling us to applaud and appreciate a group of Airmen whose world is full of wonder.