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What does the Air Force mean to you?

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - -- This past summer, an F-15 pilot lost his life over the deserts of Nevada training to be the best fighter pilot he could be while providing simulated realistic combat training to Combat Air Force units as an Aggressor at RED FLAG. He left behind a wife and two young children, but for what?

It is sometimes good to be reminded of what being in the Air Force means, or should mean, to each of us. If it is just a job, maybe you're in the wrong profession. But I'd argue that the majority of you feel the same way I do. This is evident in the things we in Air Force accomplish every day, whether on base or in the local community.

I knew Lt. Col. Thomas "Moses" Bouley personally. We had served in the same squadron together and had become good friends. Moses was an outgoing, fun-loving fighter pilot who loved his family, his friends and his "job". It's obvious to most why he loved his family and friends. But if you had the opportunity to ask him why he loved his "job", I bet he'd say something like this.

I love what I do because it gives me a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and pride to know that I'm serving in the best Air Force the world has ever seen. I am proud to wear this country's uniform and serve the people of this great nation. I don't necessarily want to go to war or lose my life, but if that's what it takes, I would gladly do so to fulfill my duty and to support and defend this country, its constitution and its people. I was born to serve and I will do anything in my power to ensure this country remains free. I will fight to make sure that the sacrifices of those before me will never be in vain.

That's just the way he was. The Air Force shouldn't just be a "job" -- it's a calling. It's a way of life, a way to serve the greatest nation this world has ever seen. This is what he believed. Although he planned to go home after that sortie, he lost his life while training hard and providing realistic combat training to hundreds of pilots so that if called upon, they would be ready to step up and do what was required to serve and protect his country. He was a volunteer, and proud to serve.

Moses was a great man, father, husband, friend and an excellent fighter pilot. He died on July 30, 2008, doing his best to serve his country and his Air Force and additionally, doing what he loved. Colonel Bouley will be missed.

One of the best things about being in this Air Force is the opportunity to serve with people like Moses. Every day when we come to work, we get to work with some of the best this country has to offer. The core values we hear and live by are evident in our Airmen if you just pay attention. It is "how we serve" as a whole that makes me proud to be a part of the 47th Flying Training Wing and the U.S. Air Force.

I want to charge each and every one of you to "not be shy" about letting everyone outside of our Air Force know what we do or "how we serve". Sure we fly and fight better than any other air force ever known. Former Secretary of the Air Force, Michael W. Wynn, wrote an article in the Letter to Airmen series titled "Every Airman a Communicator". His point was that we need to know, and let others know, everything we do as our nation's Air Force. He was primarily referring to what we do as a military force, but I contend we also have to get the word out about our community involvement and all other positive aspects of what we do as well.