On April 18, 1942, the rhythmic pounding of 16 B-25 Mitchell
bombers’, 1,700 horsepower supercharged 14 cylinder radial engines,
resonated out over the bow of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft
carrier, the USS Hornet.
On that day 80 Airmen set forth on a
mission, which their commander estimated only had a 50 percent
chance of survival. Armed with the Chinese phrase “lusha hoo metwa
fugi,” – I am American – and laden with the buzzing of the twin
engines of the aircraft in their ears, the men began a journey to
avenge the service members who lost their lives during the attack on
Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.
The Airman’s Creed is a statement of beliefs designed to ignite a
surge of the esprit de corps, values, pride and heritage which
defines the unique capabilities of an American Airman. It was
designed to reinvigorate a warrior ethos while providing Airmen a
tangible statement of beliefs. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt.
William Banton - July 28, 2012)
The raid, led by then Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle,
marked the first strategic bombardment by the U.S. Army Air
Forces in the Pacific during World War II.
raiders represent the spirit of creativity and innovation,
progressively growing the service into the modern day Air
Force of today, said Dr. Doug Lantry, the National Museum of
the United States Air Force historian regarding the 75th
anniversary of the Doolittle Raid.
"If we don't
understand our history, we cannot understand the warfighting
contribution that we make (today)," Retired Air Force Gen.
T. Michael Moseley, former chief of staff of the Air Force,
said in 2007. "In World War II it took hundreds of bombers
to drop hundreds of thousands of bombs on a city, flying
into harm’s way with a realization that the aircraft may not
return," he explained. "Today, with the air supremacy we
provide and the technology we use, we are far more lethal
In 2007 Moseley instituted
regulations to help build the foundation of a combat Airman.
A warrior’s ethos, “has always been a part of an Airman's
character, but some people may have lost sight of it," said
Moseley. "This warrior ethos exhibits a hardiness of spirit,
and moral and physical courage."
The same year he
authorized an Airman’s Creed, a statement of beliefs
designed to ignite a surge of the esprit de corps, values,
pride and heritage which define the unique capabilities of
an American Airman.
Airmen are in the Air Force for
however long they choose to be, but when a person leaves
they are still part of the Air Force, said Senior Master
Sgt. Keith Rivers, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron first
sergeant, about why Airmen should care about their heritage.
“Heritage is what you have learned from your mentors and
supervisors and (they learned) from the Airmen before them,”
he said. “Whatever you bring will be passed down to the
Airmen who take your place.
“I’m sure that anyone you
ask can tell you who their military training instructor
was,” Rivers said. “My MTI was Tech. Sgt. Susan Sterns, she
was a bomb loader on a B-52 Stratofortress, and she brought
a lot of things to the table that I still use today.
“If she had an issue with an Airman she could be tough as
nails but then she knew how to soften it in a closed forum
(by saying) ‘I had to correct your behavior and I had to
show you what you were doing is wrong,’ but behind closed
doors there was still a shared level of respect, even though
there was a difference in rank.”
Rivers also collated
the importance of heritage, with an understanding of how the
forefathers of the Air Force, like Doolittle, gave us the
culture we have today.
The Doolittle Raid was very
motiving for our country at that time, Rivers said.
Doolittle was able to put bombers on an aircraft carrier and
show the Empire of Japan American ingenuity, this very
concept is what makes us who we are today.
Note: Additional reporting by Staff Sgt.
Matthew Rosine, Air Force News Agency, May 2007, and Bryan Ripple ,
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs.
By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
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