This Veteran’s Day share the legacy

  • Published
  • By General Gary North
  • Pacific Air Forces commander
We recently concluded our fall gathering of senior PACAF leaders where we were joined by Vietnam veterans Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Steve Ritchie and former Navy corpsman and Honolulu Advertiser publisher Lee Webber. General Ritchie is an acclaimed ace with five kills, and Mr. Webber defended against an enemy siege at Khe San for 77 days in 1968. In the presence of these heroes I was reminded, as I often am, of the veterans who came before us and their contributions.

At one point during our conference, all PACAF commanders, directors and chiefs stood with me as the USS Ronald Reagan cruised past on the Pearl Harbor channel completing their successful combat cruise in the CENTCOM AOR en-route to the West coast. I was reminded again of our heroes--those who continue to defend freedom. We stood and saluted the sailors of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier from the soil where World War II began and just a few hundred yards away from the USS Missouri where the war would ultimately end on its deck.

You don't have to look far to discover our history and proud heritage. As we remember the many who have served, of all services, and those who continue to serve from Bagram to Baghdad to the DMZ, we can honor them by sharing a piece of our military heritage with those who may be unfamiliar. Tell your stories to others and learn those of our predecessors.

Our story in PACAF is still being written. The security and economic prosperity which prevails in many parts of the Pacific region, today, is largely a result of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who served and continue to serve. Equally important are the accomplishments and sacrifices of our families who stand behind us and give us strength.

This Veteran's Day, I ask all Airmen to reflect on the contributions of our total force team and to share the rich heritage of our Air Force and our joint team with others. I am proud of the work being performed by our great PACAF Airmen every day. Have a safe and enjoyable Veteran's Day and take care of your wingman so we can continue to Fly, Fight and Win ... in air, space and cyberspace.