We have all found ourselves standing at promotion ceremonies and other military functions where we as a group recite the Airman’s Creed. But why do we say the Airman’s Creed? Better yet, what does it mean?
To understand the why, we need to understand what a creed is. A creed is a system of guiding principles or fundamental beliefs.
Before you come down too hard on creeds, understand that everyone has a creed. In fact, many Fortune 500 companies have creeds to accurately explain their beliefs and guiding philosophy. Creeds are meant to define the boundaries within which a group of people operate.
I am an American Airman
Air Force members are Americans and are key defenders of the nation and the Constitution. Consider the importance. This phrase is repeated throughout the creed to remind us who we are as Airmen.
I am a warrior
Years ago, if you said this to a sister service they would laugh at you. The fact is the Air Force has transitioned as a force and we find ourselves involved in joint operations. Our Airmen are going “outside the wire” time and time again. Whether it is to clear roadside bombs or as a defense force in support of a convoy, our Airmen are there. Bottom line, Airmen don’t just sit at a desk anymore.
I have answered my nation’s call
We are all here by choice; there is no draft or government requirement to serve. Many of us might think we are here for an education, but as a wise chief once told me, “Are you willing to take a bullet for a master’s degree? If your answer is no, then perhaps you are here because you inherently want to serve your country.”
My mission is fly, fight and win
No mystery here. Everything we do is to ensure our aircraft fly. We as Americans will fight for what is right. If you think back to the tragedy of 9/11, people who weren’t even military wanted to see justice come to those who killed innocent men, women and children.
I am faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor
To understand where we are going we need to understand where we have been. This line is a reflection of our past successes that make the Air Force what it is today.
Guardian of freedom and justice
This is a call to the Constitution. Every member of the military swears an oath stating they will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; this line incorporates that oath into our creed.
My nation’s sword and shield, its sentry and avenger
As the sword of our nation, we will take the fight to those who threaten us and our way of life. The sentry part sheds light on our ability to learn about our enemy and adapt our operations. As the avengers, we will fight for those who have fallen.
I defend my country with my life
The fact is, we might not take a bullet for a master’s degree, but we all stand tall and would take one for our country and our way of life.
Wingman, leader, warrior
Every Airman is a wingman; that is, every member of the Air Force must take care of the other members around him. In a time of war or peace, each Airman is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all others in the service.
I will never leave an Airman behind, I will never falter and I will not fail
This last line sets the tone of the whole creed. It represents who we are as Airmen and as Americans. As Airmen, no matter the situation, we all come home together. As Americans we will not waiver in our decisions and there is no way we will ever fail. It’s not in our DNA.
Whether you serve four years or 30 years, your service puts you in an elite group of Americans — a group who stood tall and accepted the oath to serve their country. That’s something you will be able to hold to for the rest of your life.
Fortune 500 companies may have a creed to increase the productivity of their company so revenue increases; however, our creed defines who we are, what we stand for and the fact that if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. So next time you’re asked to recite the Airman’s Creed, take a deep breath and give it all you got. HOOOAH!