July 4th - It's all about the team

  • Published
  • By Col. Kevin Bennett
  • 49th Mission Support Group commander
I have always been a big fan of the Fourth of July holiday and all of its festivities. If you are anything like me, you also enjoy the break from work, spending quality time with friends and family to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display, a squeaker of a baseball game, or a barbeque complete with apple pie. However, when was the last time we all took a moment to reflect on what the Fourth of July really means or the incredible amount of teamwork involved in the American Revolution?

While Thomas Jefferson often gets sole credit for the Declaration of Independence, a committee of five was actually appointed for the task: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Thomas Jefferson. The committee discussed the general outline and content of the declaration, then Jefferson, the master wordsmith that he was, put pen to paper. Afterward, both Adams and Franklin edited the draft before the text was finalized. As the sole author, Jefferson certainly deserves the lion's share of the credit. But as with most accomplishments, big and small, the Declaration of Independence was the result of collaboration and teamwork.

Our founding fathers were another amazing team. Though they often disagreed, and were very passionate about their positions, their ability to compromise and come to consensus made them remarkable. In that vein, they gathered together in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, to approve the final wording of the document declaring our independence. They wanted the 13 individual yet united colonies of the Americas, the tyrannical monarchy thousands of miles away, and the world, to know one thing: we will not be ruled by a government that doesn't have our best interests in mind and is only using us to further its own progress! Many Americans look at that day as the defining moment for our a sovereign nation, but the quest for independence began some 13 years before and would last for another grueling seven. The pursuit of liberty was a difficult task and victory was eventually achieved. But as with any great mission it involved a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears from a myriad of different teams: the Sons of Liberty, of Boston Tea Party fame; the Continental Army and Navy, augmented by state militias: our Allies, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic, etc. So while we revere Paul Revere, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, remember that it was a team of teams that ultimately won the day.

There is something incredibly significant about individuals from all walks of life and different backgrounds, united by purpose, coming together to form a team. The representatives of the Second Continental Congress who gathered in Philadelphia to courageously exclaim, "We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." The few Americans, old and young alike, who stood up to the most powerful Army and Navy in the world to declare that we will never surrender our inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was a great undertaking; a fragile yet free nation was held together by a unanimous belief, where the support of every colony, every town and every person was needed to survive. Anything less and the experiment of self-rule and absolute liberty would have been doomed from the start.

In a similar way, we here at Holloman come together to form a highly diverse team. We have all the traditional components of an Air Combat Command wing: operations, (flying the aircraft); maintenance, (keeping them in the air); support, (providing the foundation and tools to succeed); and medical, (keeping us all in the fight). However, we also possess the Air Force's only Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) unit and contingents from Air Force Material Command, Air Force Space Command, and the German Air Force Flying Training Unit. All of these disparate elements make us unique to a typical Air Force installation, and they make us a grand experiment for the Air Force. But while we may be different, those diverse elements give our installation strength and unite us under one banner as Team Holloman. It's as true today as it was during the American Revolution, "it's all about the team."