Rising up to fight through COVID-19 … together

Air Education and Training Command is promoting participation in its #RiseUpAETC campaign to highlight positive stories of Airmen, their loved ones and other members of the community stepping up in the current fight against COVID-19 to support one-another and the AETC mission. (Courtesy graphic)

The Airmen of AETC don’t back down to a challenge; we rise up.

While I believed this to be true, even before the First Command was faced with overcoming challenges related to COVID-19, I can now point to examples across our command to prove it without a doubt. I have never been more proud to lead the exceptional Airmen of AETC, and I want to thank each of you for fighting through COVID-19 together and continuing to support the AETC mission during these difficult times.

As the fight against COVID-19 has evolved over the past several weeks, the stakes have been high. You have been faced with unprecedented challenges in an environment changing day-by-day and sometimes hour-by-hour. Yet every day, you, your loved ones, and members of the AETC community have risen to face new challenges and overcome them in extraordinary ways.

As guidance emerged, you adapted by teleworking, implementing physical distancing as much as possible in your workspaces and across mission essential training, and incorporating innovative teaching and learning measures in forums ranging from the Inter-American Air Forces Academy to Officer Training School, Reserve Officer Training Corps, technical training and pilot training.

As our children’s schools began closing or going virtual, you shared homeschooling tips with your fellow AETC community members across the country and never once wavered in your support of the mission.

Your resilience and determination to keep mission essential training moving forward, while protecting both our members on base and communities as we all adjusted to our new “normal,” has been phenomenal.

As guidance was relayed on the wear of face coverings, you were already lining up volunteers to step forward and sew masks and use tools available in your units to create pieces of personal protective equipment. Several of you reached out to your communities for help and you worked together to make things happen.

And as the Air Force has continued to require ready and lethal Airmen, each of you have demonstrated tremendous dedication – whether as medical personnel, maintainers, dining facility employees, instructors, security forces, commissary employees, trainees and countless other vital roles. I want to say thank you to all of you.  You are the heart of the Air Force, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this team.

The demand for airpower has continued, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and your service is essential to AETC, the Air Force, and the security of our nation as a whole.      

Throughout this fight, the First Command has embraced the mantra, “Calm is Contagious.” I appreciate Airmen trusting in their leaders and addressing issues through their chains of command, and I’m grateful for the commanders at all levels making tough decisions in an environment where there are no easy answers. This matter-of-fact approach is a key element of our fight against COVID-19 and enables us all to keep calm, fight through and train on.

To ensure we continue to recognize the incredible stories of individuals across AETC stepping up in the fight against COVID-19, AETC has launched the
#RiseUpAETC campaign. I encourage you to participate and share what the fight against COVID-19 has looked like for you. Share your story by posting to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #RiseUpAETC or by sending an email to aetccommandteam@gmail.com.

As we look toward the future, we can’t know for certain what our new normal will look like. Even so, I know that our mission remains the same: to recruit, train and educate exceptional Airmen to fuel the Air and Space Force. I appreciate the continued dedication and hard work of every AETC team member as we continue rising up, fighting COVID-19, and executing our mission … together.