Commentary

March 22, 2013

Who, what do you serve?

Commentary by Lt. Col. Shamsher Mann
62nd Fighter Squadron

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — How many articles are there in the Constitution of the United States of America? How many times has the Constitution been amended? Why do we have an Air Force when only an Army and Navy are specifically mentioned in the Constitution? If you do not know the answer to these questions, I would submit to you that you haven’t taken your oath of office or enlistment to heart and have merely mouthed the words in anticipation of a larger pay check.

Every enlisted man and woman in the U.S. Air Force must take an oath to enlist and subsequently reaffirm that oath with every increase in rank. That oath states that the Airman “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Further, the enlisted oath states that “I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me.”

Officers in the Air Force swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Finally, the president’s oath of office is perhaps the simplest and most elegant of them all. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The common theme in all these oaths provides the answer to the question of what or whom do we serve. Whether enlisted, officer or commander in chief, we all serve the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Constitution is more than words on a piece of paper. It is an ideal for the foundation of a nation the likes of which the world has never seen. As such, if we take an oath to that ideal (which we all have done), does it not follow that we should have a working knowledge of what that ideal actually is? Sadly, in American society today the Constitution is often discussed as an archaic document whose applicability is limited in a “modern” society.

As a parent of school-aged children, I am disheartened by the fact that the Constitution is merely discussed in passing and never truly studied in depth in school. While this may be acceptable in society (I think it is not), having no understanding of the document that we in the military have all have taken an oath to “support and defend” is not. Reading it is not a tall order. The full document and all the amendments can be read within thirty minutes.

Most Americans learn what they know about the Constitution in the fifteen minutes of news they watch about the constitutionality of some hot button political issue in the nation at the time. Often, this commentary is presented with a slant to whichever side of the political aisle the commentator sits on.

We in the military must understand our founding document at its core without regard to a political ideology. Our understanding of the ideals established by the Constitution should be at a fundamental level untainted by the controversies of the day.

That having been said, we are all human beings with opinions, and we all have different outlooks on life. This is the beauty of America … free thought and speech … rights guaranteed within the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments).

However, those opinions should be based on our own familiarity with, and understanding of, the Constitution and not some television pundit’s interpretation of it.

We all serve in the military of the greatest nation the world has ever known, and we all swear an oath to the ideals that represent that nation. We need to understand those ideals if the oaths we take are to be anything more than empty words spoken prior to a promotion.

Go grab a copy of the Constitution. Read it. Understand it. Understand what you have sworn to support and defend. After all, how can you swear allegiance to something you do not know?




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Bring ‘invisible class’ into view

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — When I was a young boy, my father explained to me that there was dignity in work. He told me to always respect the worker regardless of how thankless or menial their job may appear to be. He said that you never know the burdens a person may be carrying, or...
 
 

Know what love is, what it’s not

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — “If you don’t leave him he’s not going to stop until you’re dead,” my mother said. With sadness in her voice my aunt replied: “I know.” I remember sitting in the backseat of the car as my mother and aunt whispered to each other. While my aunt cried, I looked at...
 
 

Military leads the way in equal opportunity

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — What does it take to change a nation? What force has the power to move millions of people in their fundamental views of the world? For Christopher Daniels, a U.S. Air Force colonel, that answer is simple: leadership. In his words, “The true agent of change is true leadership.”...
 

 

Defining moments

The word character has many meanings according to the dictionary…a feature or trait characteristic, moral or ethical quality, qualities of honesty, courage, and to no surprise….integrity. Since it has so many different meanings, it can be made to adapt to so many different types of people. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather...
 
 

Leaders: the good, bad, and forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders- the Good, the Bad, and the Forgotten. Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every...
 
 

Stay out of rain; see bigger picture

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Supervisors, you build and lead teams to the best of your abilities. You hold an umbrella of protection over your people, but what do you do when one of your members runs into the rain via a bad decision? Do you take your protective umbrella from other members to go cover...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin