Every Airman has a critical role to play

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Paul Geldziler
  • 44th Fighter Squadron
Fly, fight, and win. Bombs on target. You hear these terms growing up in the Air Force and are told no matter what your job is, your role is vital to the overall mission. For some, that link is difficult to make. "What does my job have to do with putting bombs on target?" asks an Airman from the lodging office. Everything, in my opinion.

Sometimes it takes a special event to see how the individual accomplishments of others affect the mission on the whole. For me, this opportunity came when I was offered an incentive ride in an F-15 Eagle.

It starts with a complete physical. You first get briefed by a flight surgeon who covers just about everything you need to know to endure your time in the sky. Afterwards, a medical technician asks you a bunch of questions and then runs you through a battery of neurological tests to make sure everything is in check.

Next, it's over to Aircrew Flight Equipment to get fitted up in your gear. You start off with a flight suit, followed by a G-suit, survival vest, and harness. Your face is then precisely measured to fit the helmet and oxygen mask. Once fitted, you are hooked up to a machine that simulates different altitudes, and you are checked for leaks.

The last bit of training comes the day of the flight -- egress training. It deals with getting in and out of the jet, as well as familiarization with the different controls in the cockpit.

The actual flight was incredible. After taxiing to the runway and having the airspace cleared, we took off. For the next hour my pilot demonstrated the capabilities of his aircraft and rigorous pilot training. It had to be one of the most memorable hours of my life.

On the way home I thought of how many people contributed to making that day possible. Though it only lasted one hour, those involved had spent considerable more time in making it a success.

From the folks at billeting who prepared my room for me to get a good night's rest, to the folks at the dining hall who prepared my nourishing breakfast the morning of, to the flight doc and med. tech. who gave me my physical, to the aircrew flight equipment technician who fit me up in my gear, to the aviation resource manager who made sure my pilot was current to fly, to all the maintainers who got the aircraft ready for flight, to the airfield manager who ensured the runways were safe to taxi, to the folks in the tower who cleared the airspace...the list goes on and on.

All this for just one amazing hour. Imagine what it takes to defend a nation for an eternity. Your job in the Air Force, no matter what your career field, really is important to doing the nations business - and I thank you for your service.