Military is an honored profession

  • Published
  • By Col. Keith Williams
  • 136th Airlift Wing

You probably have heard the military referred to as “the profession of arms” at some point in your life. I know you have if you have accomplished professional military education at any level. Know this, whether you do this job part-time or full-time you are in the profession of arms.

What makes us professionals? Is it the oath we take? Maybe... Is it the high level of training we receive? Maybe... Or are we considered professionals because it just sounds good? Probably not. 

The Air Force Profession of Arms Center of Excellence at AETC (Air Education and Training Center) defines the profession of arms as, “a vocation comprised of experts in the design, generation, support and application of global vigilance, global reach and global power serving under civilian authority, entrusted to defend the Constitution and accountable to the American people.”

So it is a little bit about the Oath (Oath of Enlistment/Oath of Office). The profession of arms is about defending the U.S. Constitution. We are indeed accountable to the American people.

How many times have you been out in the community on a Saturday or Sunday after drill and had people say hello to you, watch you from a distance, or wave as they walk by? American citizens are drawn to look at the uniform either because they themselves have served, or they know someone who has or is currently serving.

Military members are held in high regard by most of our fellow citizens. Why is that? I think it is because we are special. Not everyone is able to be accepted into the Armed Forces. You are part of an elite group. Get this, only .72 percent of the U.S. population is serving in the military right now. That includes all branches of Active Duty, the Reserves, and the Guard. You are indeed among the few. And that is why people admire and respect you. You know they are watching -- so wear your uniform well. Straighten your posture and hold your head high. You are a professional in the greatest Armed Forces the world has ever known.

All professionals are always trying to achieve more. We’re never quite satisfied with the status quo. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Martin Dempsey wrote, “We must continue to learn, to understand, and to promote the knowledge, skills, attributes, and behaviors that define us as a profession.” Keep seeking knowledge. Keep striving to improve your job skills. Never settle for anything less than the best.

I feel very fortunate to be a member of the 136th Airlift Wing. I have people come up to me quite often and comment how much they like being in this wing. I know we are far from perfect, but we are always striving to be better. That’s what professionals do.

As you continue to serve, please dedicate yourself to being the best Airman, Wingman, and professional you can be. Hold yourself and others accountable and continue to make America proud of its Armed Forces.

Be safe. Be healthy. Be strong.