TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Less than two weeks ago, millions watched the final events and closing ceremony of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The dominating performance of the athletes representing Team USA was remarkable but also what the American public expects. As I reflected on the athletic success of Team USA, I thought of another Gold Medal team, the United States Air Force, specifically Team Travis.
Just as an Olympian dedicates thousands of hours to their sport, members of the Air Force display an even deeper dedication through their selfless service. I most recently witnessed this dedication while deployed to Qatar.
Each day, members of our Air Force and Team Travis accomplished their mission by working extended hours, at times with limited resources, in temperatures the average person considers unbearable, without complaint and with a smile. From Defenders guarding the gate, to the Dirt Boys preparing a new parking ramp, the Port Dawgs who loaded, the Operators who flew, the Maintainers who fixed the aircraft, the Cooks who fed and the Medics who kept us healthy, they, and many others, contributed to the overall mission success through dedicated selfless service. It was an amazing dominating performance, enabling success in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
As they do with Team USA, the American public expects a dominating performance from the Air Force, wherever we go and we still deliver. Although a poor athletic performance may be devastating for an Olympic athlete, a failure on our part carries a significantly higher cost.
As members of the greatest Air Force in the history of the world, we have a duty to our predecessors to build on their proud heritage of victory and legacy of valor. By wearing the uniform, we commit to a promise of continued personal preparation and willingness to run to the sound of the guns when the nation calls.
As a team, our Air Force has been consistently answering that call, from deployed locations, longer than most of us have been serving in uniform. We and our successors will continue to willingly answer that call.
In addition to personal preparation, we also have a responsibility to those successors to provide the tools and training needed so they are better prepared than we were at their stage of training. Targeting the minimum when training your replacement is never good enough. Targeting perfection, although challenging, provides margin for error in the event of a poor performance, potentially marking the difference between excellence and mediocrity.
As an Air Force, we can never lose sight of the need to execute our mission with excellence both today and tomorrow. Forgetting this goal would be like an athlete giving their best performance in a qualifying event and then failing to show up for the gold medal race. Watching Team Travis in action, I see a long-term mindset, succeeding today while preparing for the future.
Around the globe, members of Team Travis provide gold medal winning Rapid Global Mobility every day. It is good to be back on the team, working alongside each of you.