Our future Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Casey Dodds
  • 934th Operations Group deputy commander
What does the future hold?  What will our future Airmen look like?  The answers are probably closer to science fiction than we would like to believe.  As I sit and reflect on over 20 years in the Air Force phrases like: the more things change the more they stay the same, the only constant is change and what old is new again; all bare some truth.

Earlier in my career the "crusty old" flyers always talked about the "good ol' days."  I am able to ponder the present while reminiscing about my young lieutenant days.  The reality is that as we move forward in our careers and inevitably gain more responsibility the past seems easier and more carefree time in our lives.  But that doesn't mean that our young airmen are much different.

There are many similarities between young Airmen of today and the past; we were innovative, questioned the rules and listened with interest to the "back in my day" stories.  Cellphones, Internet and email were novelties that only commanders used.  We drew our flying routes on paper charts and OPR/EPRs were done on electric typewriters.  There was no DTS and it could take weeks to get paid for a TDY.  Our GTC was from AMEX and even lodging didn't accept it as a form of payment.  When I arrived at Pope AFB in 1995 they had just upgraded from rotary phones to touchtone.

In 20 years there will be many things that were done today that will seem as archaic. One thing will remain the same, eager and dedicated young airmen will continue to endeavor to walk in the footsteps of those that have gone before them, leaders like Maj. Gen. Billy Mitchell, Brig. Gen. Robin Olds and Brig. Gen. James Robinson "Robbie" Risner.

They may not be communicating using Blackberries or iPhones, or work in an office and be buried under hundreds of emails a day. But they will have a desire to be a part of something greater than themselves; a desire to protect what is most dear and revel in the sacrifice of being an American Airman.