Looking forward together

  • Published
  • By Col. John C. Flournoy, Jr.
  • 932nd Airlift Wing
First let me express my heartfelt thanks to everyone for the kind and warm welcome that you extended to me, my family, and friends over the January Unit Training Assembly. 

I appreciate the efforts that so many of you put into making the change of command such a huge success and for showing, once again, that the 932nd Airlift Wing holds itself to a higher standard. Over the UTA, I had the pleasure of meeting so many of you and in our short conversations was reminded once again of the tremendous sacrifices that you and your families are making in order to serve this unit, the Air Force Reserve, and this great country. 

Go back in time and put yourself in the shoes of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,
commander of the 20th Regiment of Infantry, Maine Volunteers, and any number of citizen soldiers who joined that Union regiment in the Fall of 1862. Many historians believe that the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War in favor of the Union Army. 

Colonel Chamberlain and the men of the Twentieth Maine Volunteers are revered by many as the heroes of the Battle of Gettysburg. They courageously fought for and held the far left Union battle line and thwarted the Confederate attempts to take possession of Little Round Top. The gallant efforts of the members of the 20th Maine will go down in history as efforts that saved the Union and made the way of life we enjoy today possible. 

 The members of the 20th Maine came from a variety of backgrounds. Colonel Chamberlain was a professor of rhetoric at Bowdoin University before joining the regiment. His regiment was made up of farmers, shop clerks, woodsman, and seaman. They all joined for a number of different reasons. As the actor Jeff Daniels said as Chamberlain in the movie "Gettysburg," "Some of us volunteered to fight for union. Some came in mainly because they were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came...because it was the right thing to do." 

The 932nd Airlift Wing has a long, proud tradition of citizen soldiers volunteering to join
for the exact same reasons and from many different backgrounds. You teachers, students, police officers, electricians, airline crew members, firefighters, and any number of other individuals representing your occupations, can be proud knowing that the sacrifices that you make today are changing the face of history. The strength of our democratic way of life is evident in the fact that the members of today's armed
forces are serving to protect the same freedoms as those that have been fought for over the history of this great country. 

Colonel Chamberlain stated it best just prior to going into battle at
Gettysburg. "This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history,...
They fight for land, power, because a king leads them... But we are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free." 

The war on terrorism is no different. If we do not win this battle then
our way of life as we know it will never be the same. As Colonel Chamberlain
was proud of the Maine citizens joining the fight for freedom, you should know
the 932nd Airlift Wing leadership, your families, and your communities are also
proud that each of you chose to come join us, the Air Force Reserve. 

Only through your tireless efforts and tremendous dedication will we be
able to complete our mission:  "To fly and fight in air, space and
cyber space" and "to provide the world's best mutual support to the Air
Force and our partners - flying as unrivaled wingmen." 

I look forward to working side by side with each and every one of
you as a part of the 932nd Airlift Wing family.