Honor through Action

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, Commander, Air Force Sustainment Center

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial delivering the now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stirred hearts and made clear the urgency of equality for all. It was an important moment in our shared American journey. In context of 1963, the speech was a bold challenge to our nation to finally make real for all citizens the foundational promises in our Declaration of Independence. In context of American history, the speech is as indispensable as it is timeless.


We celebrate Dr. King because he used intelligence, morality, persistence--and no small amount of personal courage--to lead the civil rights movement and transform our nation. As I reflect on his legacy and the half century since, I am proud that our Air Force aligns what we expect of each other - dignity and respect - along the same axis as Dr. King’s ideals.


We demonstrate our commitment to his dream by building a team of Airmen from all segments of our society; an Air Force in which each Airman is valued for his or her individual character and abilities, yet bound by shared values and common cause.


The most significant way we can honor Dr. King’s memory is through real action. At the Air Force Sustainment Center, we are part of Air Force Materiel Command’s efforts to ensure Airmen achieve their career ambitions free of unfair barriers.


Your Center leadership is listening.  While it may take time to address every area that needs change, we are committed to doing so.  We have the privilege of working in the most diverse command in the Air Force. Our goal is to make full use of the talent each of you contributes to our mission by ensuring everyone is empowered to reach their full potential within AFSC.


I do not know whether our Air Force Core Values were crafted with Dr. King’s dream in mind, but I do know that they sound the same notes of freedom and individual responsibility.  Together, they help light the path we travel as citizens and as Airmen.