Back to "basic blue"

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Nothing feels better than marching in formation. After all, everyone loves a parade. The music, the sound of cadence, and heels pounding together. That might sound strange to some, but hear me out.

Anyone who has been in the military remembers their first time, probably while in Basic Military Training, that they experienced that special moment out on the drill pad, marching along in formation, after days or perhaps weeks of stumbling along as individuals.

That day their flight came together and finally got it right. At that moment their Military Training Instructor might have said something like "there you go, now you've got it! Nice heel beat; you're making me proud!"

After countless hours on the pavement you and your unit got it right. You were finally marching as a single element rather than a mass of people. It felt good. Really good. You never thought you would get it right, but you did.

Some of you may have wanted to give up along the way, but your instructor never gave up on you. He never doubted the outcome of the countless hours of drill that got you there. Rigid discipline, practice, expert leadership, and determination got you there. Do you remember how it felt that first time?

As we go along, we sometimes forget that day. Just another milestone along the way, right? Sadly the feeling too is often filed away along with so many other experiences the military gives us.

An article by Robert F. Dorn in the Air Force Times (A more Martial Manner - Jan. 26, page 46) pointed out the feeling by many that we need to adjust our course to refocus on basic customs and courtesies which at times are lacking in our service today.

As Dorr put it, "It's time to focus on proper military conduct so we'll be at our best to focus on the larger issues."

I couldn't agree with him more. I believe you have to admit that it feels good to be squared away, to have your stuff together, to look good.

Have you seen the U.S. Marine Corps television commercials where sharp, almost flawless Marines execute pristine maneuvers with rifles or swords? How many of us have thought "Man! They're good!"

Well, so are we. And there's no reason we can't present that appearance. After all, just think back to how good it felt - that heel beat, all together - one unit getting it right.

It is the same feeling you can embrace in any military formation, whether retreat, reveille or to the colors. Even on the job, especially on the job you can reclaim that same old feeling. A good haircut, a crisp well tailored uniform on a trim fit body.

I urge you to reclaim that good old feeling and take unique pride in your heritage. The Marines deserve the pride and acclaim they have earned as a fighting force - and so do you!

Airmen, let's get back to basic blue.

(Editor's note: the Air Force Times is not affiliated in any way with the United States Air Force or the Department of Defense, nor is any endorsement of the paper intended or implied by this commentary.)