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Game day: There's no off day for Mighty Ninety

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Trevor Flint
  • 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron commander
As I sit here on this nice, autumn Friday afternoon putting my thoughts on paper for this commentary, I find myself reminiscing back to this same time of day on Fridays 25 autumns ago. My Pascagoula Panther teammates and I would have been finishing up our pre-game meal getting ready for our weekly Friday night high school football game. Man, those were good times. I can still vividly recall the anticipation, excitement and nerves; hoping all the hard work we put in the previous week at practice prepping for our opponents and conditioning with seemingly endless wind sprints in the Mississippi heat and humidity would pay off on game day.

Game day. It's what we lived for back then, and it's what athletes in every sport, at every level work towards and look forward to every day. It's especially keen to me now, during my favorite time of year when the major league baseball pennant races are as hot as ever and the college and professional football seasons are well under way. The elite athletes at those levels pour everything into getting ready for their respective game days - whether it's Saturday or Sunday for the football players or a little more frequently for the boys of summer as they wrap up their 162-game season, it's all about game day.

Game day. The sights the sounds, "The National Anthem," the uniforms, the fly-overs, being able to do what you love surrounded by other elite warriors fired up about the common goal to win. Don't you wish we could do that, experience that, live that?

Wait a minute, we do live that, every day. For us as members of the Mighty Ninety and Air Force Global Strike Command team, we get our game day every day. "The National Anthem" starts us off every work day, the uniforms we wear carry much more heritage and symbolize much more than any jersey or helmet from even the most storied sports team, and we even get the occasional fly-over courtesy of our teammates in the 37th Helicopter Squadron and the 30th Airlift Squadron. And, I guarantee you there are no finer warriors anywhere who anyone gets to surround themselves with everyday than those right here.

Sure, athletes get paid a little more and may be pampered like we would all like to be sometimes, but when is the last time the Air Force had a pin-stripe uniform day or a special ceremony to honor a professional sports team? Pretty much every sports team, college and professional, has a military appreciation and recognition day and many professional teams have games at which they wear special camouflage uniforms to honor those serving in our Nation's military.

We are on the greatest team of elite professionals anywhere. And we need to take time to remember that, every day. The stakes of our game day are much higher than any professional or collegiate sporting event, and we can never forget that. Even though there are thousands of screaming fans showing their appreciation at any sporting event, there are millions and millions of "fans" around the world who, whether they know it or not, are cheering for all of us to be victorious on our game day. What we do here every day as a provider of the Nation's strategic deterrence makes everyone else's game day a success. Whether that's our brother and sister warriors executing their combat missions around the world, or our favorite team doing battle on Saturdays and Sundays or fighting for that last wild card spot, they all do what they do because we are ready for and winning our game day, every day.

It takes hard work, guts, dedication and sacrifice to be game day ready every day. That's why the calling to be an Airman and a professional on this elite nuclear strategic force team is not for everyone. It's tough and tiring to be ready for game day every day. But we do it, every day. And we win, convincingly, every day. And because we win, our fellow warriors win, our allies win and our Nation and our way of life wins. And that makes it worth it. That is what makes us proud to do what we do every day; it makes us part of this proud heritage, makes us ready for game day, every day.

Man, these are good times.