Airman with a capital “A”
By General John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff
/ Published March 23, 2004
WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- I am an Airman.
Note that is with a capital “A.” It is just one letter at the beginning of the word, but it signifies a great deal. The reason it is capitalized is simple: Airmen in the United States Air Force are the heart and soul of our unique fighting force, and should be identified by a proper noun.
As young children, when we began to read, we learned a capital letter at the front of a word signified something special or important, like our own name, our hometown, and our country. This was reinforced throughout our education and professional life.
When we see a capital letter, our minds automatically emphasize that word, and we bestow an increased importance on that person, place, or thing. It is time to formally add our profession to that list of important and special nouns.
You may have seen or heard something about my guidance to capitalize the word “Airman.” It is appropriate to do so, in recognition of our rich history, and to emphasize our unparalleled role in the defense of America.
Our Air Force is the finest air and space force in the world because of the generations of professional Airmen who have devoted their lives to dominating the skies. Capitalizing the word “Airman” recognizes their historic achievements and signifies our unique contributions to fighting and winning America’s wars. It shows we have earned the respect a proper name imparts.
For 38 years of my life, I have been proud to wear the uniform of the United States Air Force. And, whether you have worn it as long as I have or have just recently joined our team, I know we all feel the same sense of pride. Regardless of the uniform we wear, the specialty we hold, the badge over our pocket, and whether we are active duty, Guard, Reserve, or civilian, first and foremost, we are Airmen.
We are one Air Force and we are Airmen.