HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

I'm ready, are you?

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, works out every day to ensure he is mission ready.  Phipps strives to be  physically ready in the event a combat situation presents itself. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Jaye Legate/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, works out every day to ensure he is mission ready. Phipps strives to be physically ready in the event a combat situation presents itself. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Jaye Legate/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman Chloe Roze, 366th Comptroller Squadron customer service technician, sets a target for Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Physical fitness is a crucial part of the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman Chloe Roze, 366th Comptroller Squadron customer service technician, sets a target for Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Physical fitness is a crucial part of the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, pushes the start button on the treadmill to begin his run, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. It’s important to maintain physical fitness in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, pushes the start button on the treadmill to begin his run, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. It’s important to maintain physical fitness in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, runs on a treadmill, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Phipps runs a minimum of three miles per-day in order to ensure he is ready for possible deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, runs on a treadmill, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Phipps runs a minimum of three miles per-day in order to ensure he is ready for possible deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, enjoys a typical workout session at the gym, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Phipps ensures regular trips to the gym are a part of his daily routine to ensure maximum physical preparedness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps, 366th Fighter Wing public affairs photojournalist, enjoys a typical workout session at the gym, May 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Phipps ensures regular trips to the gym are a part of his daily routine to ensure maximum physical preparedness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather Hayward/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- For many, what initially comes to mind when thinking of U.S. military men and women are images of strength and courage. Imposing Captain America-like figures who seem to be chiseled from stone rather than born of flesh and when not fighting global injustice, spend their time working-out.

In certain cases this couldn't be further from the truth, particularly in office-oriented Air Force career fields.

I've been in Air Force public affairs short of three years, and so far I have been disappointed with some attitudes toward physical fitness.

I understand I'm merely an E-3 without much experience, but I do know working eight hours a day in an office environment is no excuse to ignore fitness. Regardless of what our jobs are, we all joined the same military, and wear the same uniform countless men and women have died for.

In some cases you may think your job will never require you to rely on your fitness in a combat situation, but I know an Airman who is living proof it is always essential to stay fit-to-fight.

Augmented into a group of U.S. Army scouts and deployed to Afghanistan, Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 366th Public Affairs superintendent, found himself in harrowing situations many times during his 2010-2011 deployment, and earlier ones.

In an excerpt from his commentary, "To hell and back: The Bala Murghab saga," he details some of those situations.


"Soon we began to take small-arms fire and started to locate where they were attacking from, and returned fire. (Petty Officer 1st Class John Pearl) was documenting the fight with video and I with still photos.


Almost immediately the fighting reached a level of intensity that forced me to lay down my camera and volley rounds back at the insurgents. A few minutes into the firefight, I watched in awe as, while my co-worker Pearl was shooting video, an insurgent hit three rounds near his head, walking each round closer than the next.

I could hear several whizzing bullets passing very near to my face and body, and their sound is unforgettable. At a distance, they sounded like pops; near my position, they sounded more like loud cracks; and when they passed within inches of my ears, they sounded like a high-speed bullet train roaring by. The Taliban were bombarding us with AK-47 and a barrage of heavy machine gun (PKM) fire."


After receiving shrapnel wounds from an RPG later in the firefight, Wallace continued to rely on his fitness, despite being in a career field many mistakenly believe to be non-combative.

His commentary continues:

"Once we made it to a clearing, I saw two M-ATVs waiting for us. Even coming out of the canal was intense as we had to climb up about nine feet, while the roots we grabbed would break away. I had about 200 of the 550 rounds I left with still on me, plus an AT-4 (anti-tank weapon), 9mm handgun, four grenades, camera gear, back-up camera gear, food, water and supplies - it was hard as hell to climb out of that canal."


To many peoples' surprise, Wallace is but one of many battle-tested public affairs personnel.

One of the most combat decorated career fields, since March 5, 2013, PA Airmen have earned one Airman's medal, 98 Bronze Stars, six Purple Hearts, four Air Force Commendation Medals (with valor), two Army Commendation Medals (with valor), one Air Force Achievement Medal (with valor), 51 Air Force Combat Action Medals, five Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbons and seven Army Combat Action Badges.

Every day when I'm working out and my muscles begin to ache and exhaustion takes over, I think of what Wallace and all the other warriors had to go through, and I push on.

I know I have yet to be tested in any such way and can't guarantee I will ever be emotionally or mentally prepared for the horrors of war while working eight hours a day in my climate-controlled office. But what I can guarantee is physical readiness.

Not only could my life depend on it one day, but more importantly, the lives of those next to me. To those who disagree, my only question is - why are you in the military?


Facebook Twitter
🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
🇺🇸🇬🇾 United States Air Force Staff Sargent Brandon Tucker was the master artist behind the designs for 5 New Horizons ceremonial keys! The keys are given during the handover of each completed project. Four small keys for each construction site and a 10 foot tall key for the handover of our camp facilities.
#EnduringPromise 🇺🇸🇬🇾U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army engineers have finished 4 construction projects in Guyana as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise 2019. Each year New Horizons Training Exercise is conducted in a different Partner Nation, this is the 3rd time it's been held in Guyana.
#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇭🇳Great insight into the role of Joint Task Force-Bravo, stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The U.S. military task force provides medical assistance and disaster response in the region while supporting our Central American partners.
#ICYMI last week New Horizons team gathered with the village of Yarrowkabra and Amelia's Ward, Linden to celebrate the completion and handover ceremonies for two community centers.
Another great Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile! This is the second Helicopter H-60 model information exchange between the two Air Forces this year! 🇨🇱🇺🇸#PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
🇺🇸🇨🇱The Chilean Air Force Fuerza Aérea De Chile and the United States Air Force is conducting a helicopter Subject Matter Expert Exchange this week at the 55th Rescue Squadron Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. This is the second helicopter SMEE between the two Air Forces this year, focusing on the Chilean H-60 and the U.S. HH-60. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
The F-AIR COLOMBIA air show last month was a great example of the successful partnership between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. Check out our video highlighting this crucial partnership! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia South Carolina Air National Guard Air Force Thunderbirds
Hear firsthand the changes the #USNSComfort and crew are providing for those in need as a patient reflects on her experience aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship after receiving cataract surgery. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Some amazing humanitarian work still underway at the New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
A construction update from our team at New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently paid a visit to the #USNSComfort in Costa Rica, which is on a 5-month, 12-nation humanitarian mission in the region. Check out the video below! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
#EnduringPromise Take a moment to check out all the work the New Horizons Guyana construction members have accomplished on across Linden and the village of Yarrowkabra.
Airmen from the U.S. and Colombia have worked closely this month during Exercise Relámpago! F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard have joined with Kfir fighters from the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for this critical air-to-air exercise, which was also an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen ties between two partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #Promesaduradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
The South Carolina Air National Guard worked together with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for exercise Relámpago in Rionegro, Colombia. Check out this video overview on how the United States Air Force works together with partner nations. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera #Relámpago4 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇨🇴🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇹🇵🇦🇵🇪Thank you to the 23 Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) students from Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana, Fuerza AÉREA Ecuatoriana, FUERZA AEREA EL SALVADOR, Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca Senan Panamá and Fuerza Aérea del Perú for visiting 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base! IAAFA provides military education and training to military members of Partner Nations in the Americas. This training builds strong relationships with our Partner Nations military forces. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
Unsafe intercepts such as this are irresponsible. They increase the risk and potential for collisions. International airspace needs to be a place where everyone flies safely and within international norms.
After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇬🇾 A U.S. Army veterinarian team from the 109th Veterinarian Detachment was joined by volunteers from World Vets to help Guyanese pet owners and farms take care of their animals during the Veterinarian Readiness Training Exercise (VETRETE) for the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) New Horizons Training Exercise!
RT @usairforce: Happy Mother's Day! Today we honor our Airmen and Spouses who fill the role of mom. Your dedication and sacrifices do not…
RT @AETCommand: You are our greatest weapon. #ReadyAF https://t.co/3kFnu1SKBZ
As the director of staff, Brian Thompson administers valuable leadership to the base. In his commentary, he illust… https://t.co/PpdMBVmG5v
RT @AETCommand: To spread his knowledge as a mentor & his experience as a leader, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Bruce, 16th Air Force command c…
RT @AETCommand: The 81st TRG @81trwKeeslerAFB has changed physical fitness by purchasing Beaver Fit Boxes for the technical training studen…
RT @WesWilliamsII: 🤯Mind-blowing stats. Our rainiest day in over 1,000 days! Heavy showers & t-storms will come to an end around or before…
RT @WesWilliamsII: A Tornado Watch is in effect until 7 AM Saturday for the entire WLOX area of South MS. Conditions are favorable for wid…
RT @AETCommand: The Master Military Training Leader Program @81trwKeeslerAFB awarded its first Master MTLs their aiguillettes on March 19.…
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: #ICMYI We closed out #WHM2021 by asking one final question... how has your career helped you grow? Check out what @cmsaf_
RT @USAFRecruiting: Spotted: #GirlPower at BMT 👀 #DYK: Last year, the @usairforce saw the first all-female flight to ever complete the six…
The Military Women's Summit focused on supporting interactive presentations and providing purposeful resources, lea… https://t.co/1oJBQd0tC4
Thank you Brig. Gen. Lenderman and other keynote speakers for the inspirational speeches and also those who attende… https://t.co/1uUvegwlPp
RT @AETCommand: Continuing our Value Force Generators series TSgt Christina Cordova, a Military Training Leader @81trwKeeslerAFB shares her…
RT @DOD_Outreach: Tonight is #SpringForward. Don’t forget to check your devices and stop by https://t.co/fnPCSg93cE to learn the history o…
RT @USAFJAGCorps: Congrats to TSgt Barrett Johnson, Keesler AFB, MS, February's Paralegal of the Month! #USAF #Paralegal #FuturePHD @AETCom
RT @AETCommand: To enhance the Defense Department’s cyber warfare capabilities through a more streamlined training pipeline, @81trwKeeslerA
RT @DOD_Outreach: From his experience of losing over 100 lbs. to join the @usairforce, Senior Airman Phillip Taylor shares his advice on ho…
Keesler will be standard operations Tuesday, February 16. Please drive safely and slowly due to the possibility of… https://t.co/kln19BlVvE
RT @DOD_Outreach: Do you have questions about the #COVID19Vaccine@TeamEglin medical experts address the importance of the vaccine and ans…
SMSgt Jessica Player uses her faith to strengthen her purpose and enlighten others. In our latest article featurin… https://t.co/kzBj69hkBn
Please specify menu style in settings.

Quick Links

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
🇺🇸🇬🇾 United States Air Force Staff Sargent Brandon Tucker was the master artist behind the designs for 5 New Horizons ceremonial keys! The keys are given during the handover of each completed project. Four small keys for each construction site and a 10 foot tall key for the handover of our camp facilities.
#EnduringPromise 🇺🇸🇬🇾U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army engineers have finished 4 construction projects in Guyana as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise 2019. Each year New Horizons Training Exercise is conducted in a different Partner Nation, this is the 3rd time it's been held in Guyana.
#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇭🇳Great insight into the role of Joint Task Force-Bravo, stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The U.S. military task force provides medical assistance and disaster response in the region while supporting our Central American partners.
#ICYMI last week New Horizons team gathered with the village of Yarrowkabra and Amelia's Ward, Linden to celebrate the completion and handover ceremonies for two community centers.
Another great Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile! This is the second Helicopter H-60 model information exchange between the two Air Forces this year! 🇨🇱🇺🇸#PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
🇺🇸🇨🇱The Chilean Air Force Fuerza Aérea De Chile and the United States Air Force is conducting a helicopter Subject Matter Expert Exchange this week at the 55th Rescue Squadron Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. This is the second helicopter SMEE between the two Air Forces this year, focusing on the Chilean H-60 and the U.S. HH-60. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
The F-AIR COLOMBIA air show last month was a great example of the successful partnership between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. Check out our video highlighting this crucial partnership! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia South Carolina Air National Guard Air Force Thunderbirds
Hear firsthand the changes the #USNSComfort and crew are providing for those in need as a patient reflects on her experience aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship after receiving cataract surgery. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Some amazing humanitarian work still underway at the New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
A construction update from our team at New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently paid a visit to the #USNSComfort in Costa Rica, which is on a 5-month, 12-nation humanitarian mission in the region. Check out the video below! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
#EnduringPromise Take a moment to check out all the work the New Horizons Guyana construction members have accomplished on across Linden and the village of Yarrowkabra.
Airmen from the U.S. and Colombia have worked closely this month during Exercise Relámpago! F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard have joined with Kfir fighters from the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for this critical air-to-air exercise, which was also an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen ties between two partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #Promesaduradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
The South Carolina Air National Guard worked together with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for exercise Relámpago in Rionegro, Colombia. Check out this video overview on how the United States Air Force works together with partner nations. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera #Relámpago4 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇨🇴🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇹🇵🇦🇵🇪Thank you to the 23 Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) students from Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana, Fuerza AÉREA Ecuatoriana, FUERZA AEREA EL SALVADOR, Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca Senan Panamá and Fuerza Aérea del Perú for visiting 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base! IAAFA provides military education and training to military members of Partner Nations in the Americas. This training builds strong relationships with our Partner Nations military forces. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
Unsafe intercepts such as this are irresponsible. They increase the risk and potential for collisions. International airspace needs to be a place where everyone flies safely and within international norms.
After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇬🇾 A U.S. Army veterinarian team from the 109th Veterinarian Detachment was joined by volunteers from World Vets to help Guyanese pet owners and farms take care of their animals during the Veterinarian Readiness Training Exercise (VETRETE) for the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) New Horizons Training Exercise!
#AFSOUTH Commanding General, Major General Barry Cornish, recently spoke with #Uruguayan General del Aire, Luis De… https://t.co/vKITo4mUP8
...service members from both Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, joining tog… https://t.co/S180aPuIEf
It is rare in military operations for the composition of female service members to reach 20% and also increasingly… https://t.co/8tYsrUhW5z
#StrengtheningPartnerships! #AFSOUTH in collaboration with @ProjectHOPEorg recently facilitated the donation of mor… https://t.co/R3XH8e1MxG
@usairforce Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. recently signed perhaps the most sweeping change of Air Force… https://t.co/jZ2JKbqJsf
Her work has underscored the importance of women’s inclusion in leadership positions, aviation, as well as the cybe… https://t.co/b3PD844VKr
She has traveled throughout the SOUTHCOM AOR both as a #C130 instructor navigator promoting aviation careers amongs… https://t.co/zt1ClzcDzG
Congratulations to Colonel Sarah Russ, #AFSOUTH’s Gender Focal Point supporting the @DeptofDefense and @Southcom's… https://t.co/3g46L0LXxl
Human rights and rule of law are critical to U.S. values. #AFSOUTH supports the @DeptofDefense and @Southcom's effo… https://t.co/RjstRNfjnm
RT @usairforce: The Air Force released its new mission statement: To fly, fight, and win … airpower anytime, anywhere. Read more: https://…
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM Commander Adm. Craig Faller is in #Argentina to meet with defense leaders to discuss shared security concerns & the…
#AFSOUTH Foreign Liaison Officers from Brazil🇧🇷, Chile🇨🇱, Colombia🇨🇴, and Peru🇵🇪 completed an immersion with the 35… https://t.co/mObTOFJqn3
RT @Southcom: #GoldStarSpousesDay #HonorThem "No one knows the important cost of sacrifice better than our Gold Star Spouses & Families; w…
RT @DeptofDefense: On this #NationalDoctorsDay, we celebrate the DOD doctors who provide care and make a difference around the world. Thank…
More from #CENTAMSMOKE! #Firefighters conducted vehicle extraction exercises using the #jawsoflife and continued wo… https://t.co/4n6tB6bVtd
Exercise #CENTAMSMOKE has begun! The #612thABS firefighters are ready for an exciting and challenging week next to… https://t.co/T42yiWU45B
The #DentonProgram, is a jointly administered program of @USAID, the @StateDept and the @DeptofDefense. This progra… https://t.co/Kdctx8EiEg
@Fuerzaaereapy, @usairforce & @Southcom teamed up for the first in person Subject Matter Expert Exchange since… https://t.co/sCRTcULxi2
RT @Southcom: Senior military leaders from @deptofdefense, Canada, France, Netherlands & UK held strategic level discussions exploring the…

Social Media