C-17 pilot on standby on Air Force birthday

  • Published
  • By Louis A. Arana-Barradas
  • Air Force Print News
Capt. Carl Miller could be flying his transport aircraft instead of celebrating the Air Force's birthday with the cake, ice cream and punch.

Because, like for the past 15 years, he and other Airmen around the world will report to work this day 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.

Captain Miller is a C-17 Globemaster instructor pilot with the 14th Airlift Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. Instead of flying his transport aircraft on a trans-Atlantic flight, he will be home on the Air Force birthday.

"I'll be remembering those that came before me and made the Air Force possible -- like Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell," the five-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 captain from Stuart, Fla.

"The Air Force is the backbone of the war on terrorism," said the captain, who is an aircraft commander and also a safety officer with the 437th Airlift Wing.

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 Captain Miller.

"I think in the future we will face more challenges by trying to do more with less," he said. "However, I hope this will make us a stronger, more powerful force that we are already."