Family Days – Celebrating 4th of July

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Joseph Kramer, former commander
  • 34th Bomb Squadron

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – The 4th of July and family days associated with the federal holiday is time off that is well earned, in my opinion. 

As the world’s best Airmen in the world’s greatest Air Force, leadership provides family days as additional time off to celebrate and reflect on the consistent and persistent efforts that produce Global Air Power. 

Don’t believe me? Watch this video or this one to see a portion of what Ellsworth Airmen accomplished July 4, 2015. The videos were retransmitted segments from originally released battle damage assessment, and released by the Department of Defense. 

One year ago, Raiders from the 28th Bomb Wing led the employment of nearly 90,000 pounds of munitions, precisely targeted, within seconds against the enemy. At the time, the mission was the largest airstrike into ar Raqqa, Syria…the claimed capitol of ISIS.

The videos above indicate the mission destroyed 16 bridges and was successful, but how come it succeeded? I suggest the strike was successful because all the Airmen performed detailed planning prior to the mission. Then, all the Airmen executed the mission using approved tactics, techniques and procedures. Finally, within the planning, generation, and execution of the mission, all the Airmen demonstrated teamwork.

No doubt the enemy felt America’s Global Air Power on July 4, 2015 via “B-1 fireworks” which targeted its center of gravity!

This 4th of July, the mission is different - enjoy the holiday. However, the elements which will make this year’s mission successful remain the same - detailed planning, taking approved actions, and using teamwork.

First, come up with a detailed plan of something to do. The Black Hills are a unique area to live and in fact, thousands visit here every summer. If in need of an initial reference point for a July 4th event, maybe look at the Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association website. 

Next, take approved actions during the execution of your plan. Represent yourself, your Service, and your nation by adhering to the U.S. Air Force  core values … specifically, service before self. Don’t take the selfish action of taking too much risk during the holiday. For example, don’t hike without the proper gear or get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Both will lead to mission failure or worse! 

Finally, incorporate teamwork. Find out about the plans of those around you and pay attention to their actions. If your teammate has a bad plan or if they are about make a mistake, lead. Act to ensure all the Airmen adhere to the core values.

This 4th of July, the mission is to enjoy the holiday and time off because you’ve earned it! Have a plan, take approved actions, and be a teammate. Together, we’ll achieve mission success.

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