Major's heroes include servicemembers

  • Published
  • By Maj Jeffrey Bomkamp
  • 71st Mission Support Squadron
Who is a hero?
A hero is any man or woman regarded as an ideal or model according to Webster's New Word Dictionary.
Who are society's heroes today -- sports figures, the American Idol, movie stars or politicians? Some may argue all these people are heroes. Our society often focuses on these individuals based on envy rather than the values they exhibit.
Who are my heroes? Well, I pass them daily in the halls, see them at the fitness center and all over Vance Air Force Base. I've served with them at numerous bases of assignment and lived next to them. I've visited with them while walking my dog around the block, spending way too much time to where my beautiful wife questioned where I'd been for so long. Summed up, my heroes are those that are currently serving their country, those that have served, and the civilians that ensure our mission gets done.
Where else are you going to find a group of people who live by such words as excellence, service and integrity? Just recently we all had the opportunity to honor one of the finest men ever to serve in our Air Force at his retirement. Did most people know him? No. While a sports figure may make you remember a specific play on the athletic field, the man I'm talking about changed lives and was willing to give his life for his country. He did not seek recognition. He was my hero.
I recently went to a change of command ceremony and listened to the outgoing commander talk for some time about his amazement over his outstanding young enlisted troops standing up to insurmountable obstacles on a day-to-day basis. Further, the commander received a decoration, but used the award to deflect recognition for him and praised those he led. These airmen and commander are my heroes.
As a commander, I have the opportunity and responsibility to lead airmen. In this capacity, I see the transformation of young troops into highly valued Air Force members, see them learn the value of community service, and ultimately put personal desires on the back burner for their country. These airmen are my heroes.
The next time you are watching television or are at a sporting event and you hear the word hero, think about what it means to you. I know what it means to me!