Sergeant dispatching maintainers on Air Force birthday

  • Published
  • By Louis A. Arana-Barradas
  • Air Force Print News
Master Sgt. Robert Potter is busing tracking maintenance teams on the Air Force's 59th birthday, not enjoying cake, ice cream and punch.

Instead, like for the past 15 years, he and other Airmen around the world will report to work to fight or support the ongoing war on terrorism.

This war -- like all the ones before -- is taking Airmen to dangerous, far-flung locations to do their jobs. Some of those jobs they had never done before. Others at stateside bases provide the people and support needed to carry on that war.

Sergeant Potter is a missile facility specialist with the 91st Missile Operations Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. He will spend the Air Force birthday making sure maintenance teams keep silos operational in the American heartland.

"I'll be on the job monitoring and tracking maintenance teams dispatching to 150 ICBM launch facilities located on 8,500 square miles of the North Dakota plains," the 22-year veteran said.

The Air Force may be a year older, but it is doing more today, with a smaller force, than it did even five years ago. Since becoming a separate service in 1947, the Air Force has increased its capabilities and its global reach now stretches into space.

Today, the Air Force and its sister services are busy achieving what Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne called spherical situational awareness. This allows the U.S. military to take "a comprehensive, spherical view -- at once vertical, horizontal, real time and predictive, penetrating and defended in the cyber realm."

But in a message to the force, Secretary Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley said the Air Force is the globe's dominant force in air, space and cyberspace because of its Airmen.

"Our knowledge-enabled Airmen have revolutionized the way our nation defends itself and its allies across the full spectrum of threats," they said.

Yet the threats of terror attacks on the nation are still a reality. That makes the Air Force's role even more important. That reality is not lost on the sergeant from Battle Creek, Mich.

"We're the most dominant air force in the world," said Sergeant Potter, superintendent of the maintenance operations flight. "We provide both homeland defense and defend our national interests."

As Airmen continue to do their duty today, there are even more changes taking place. And each day new technology and smart processes make doing Air Force business smarter and more efficient. It is hard to predict where the service will be in five years.

But that is clear to Sergeant Potter.

"We will be stronger because of our technical innovations, new weapon systems and -- most importantly -- our newest generation of outstanding Airmen, both officer and enlisted," he said.