As you read this, our wing will be putting the finishing touches on the Sept. 10 celebration of its 75th anniversary. This event will reunite Jayhawks past, present and with some luck, future. Recognizing wing, squadron and individual accolades that have been collected over our history is important, but perhaps more important is the “why.” In my opinion, it stems from one word—Pride.
Pride in our heritage. Accepting and conquering the challenges of several mission changes. Time and again, Jayhawks have embraced new mission sets and quickly ascended to peer recognition as systems experts.
Pride in our Jayhawk family. Jayhawks continue to recruit their immediate family into our “Guard Family.” Mothers and fathers encourage their children to look for comfortable, safe and worthwhile environments as they look for employment opportunities. It is not surprising to see the generations of Jayhawks that have served and continue to serve together.
Pride in our fellowship and never letting a fellow Jayhawk or their family endure hardship alone. In my 14 years as a Jayhawk, I have witnessed incredible and heartfelt acts of sacrifice and caring for wingmen in distress or in grief.
Pride in our community. We are fortunate and appreciate the fervent support we receive from the citizens of Wichita and the surrounding communities. I know we will continue to have patriots volunteer to carry on our missions long after we are gone. When out in the community, I am constantly thanked for my service.
Pride in our ability to serve the citizens of Kansas. Over the decades of our existence, Jayhawks have volunteered to answer the call when disaster strikes at home. Fromfloods to tornadoes, Jayhawks jump at the opportunity to serve their fellow Kansans as they cope with the worst of their days. As Guardsmen, this is a duty we do not take lightly and we are always ready, willing and able to respond.
We are indeed privileged to have this incredible opportunity to serve. We are surrounded by the most professionally trained, mission savvy and “just get it done” Airmen in our Air Force and we should be proud!