The Courageous 56

  • Published
  • By Gen. Raymond E. Johns, Jr.
  • Commander, Air Mobility Command
When 56 courageous patriots put their signatures to a single piece of parchment 236 years ago, the course of world history changed in an instant. Although we celebrate the fourth day of July as Independence Day, it should not be lost on us that those signatures were the culmination of months of disagreements and passionate arguments. In fact, the Second Continental Congress that would eventually adopt the Declaration of Independence first convened more than a year earlier in May of 1775.

As Airmen, we are dedicated to serving a Nation that even 236 years after declaring its independence is still a wonderful grand experiment; always changing, always challenging itself. It should be no surprise that the men and women who serve today in our Air Force reflect this national character. Since our very beginnings, Airmen have always challenged what is possible. When we think about our own times, as the debate about the future of our Air Force continues, consider what those 56 signers delivered to the world after months of uncertainty. Their optimism and hope for the generations of Americans that would follow them should be an inspiration to all of us.

Like the first volunteer soldiers at Concord and Lexington, Mobility Airmen answer the call so that others may prevail. We are a 134,000 strong Total Force team entrusted with conveying the values and determination of the American people on a global stage. Every Airman and every skill is critical to delivering hope, fueling the fight and saving lives. And we know behind every Airman is a network of family and friends who will be their biggest supporters when the call comes in the middle of the night because somewhere, someone needs something.

Please enjoy this Independence Day holiday. Some of you will turn the mid-week holiday into an extended weekend to recharge. As you do, be smart and have a plan. If you're traveling, be especially careful on the roadways, as we all know they tend to be more dangerous over holidays. Be mindful of those you share the road with; if you choose to drink, please hand the keys to someone who hasn't. For those who will celebrate the holiday away from home because we've asked you to go yet again, thank you. Chief Kaiser and I could not be prouder as you carry on the work that began with the courageous 56.