Enlisted bestow highest honor on Academy superintendent

Chief Master Sgts. Carolyn Henriques of the 10th Force Support Squadron and Randall Doersch of the Air Force Academy Band, perform their duties as Keepers of the Sword during an Order of the Sword ceremony for Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould March 19, 2012. Gould is the 234th inductee into the Order of the Sword. (U.S. Air Force photo/Raymond McCoy)

Chief Master Sgts. Carolyn Henriques, of the 10th Force Support Squadron, and Randall Doersch, of the Air Force Academy Band, perform their duties as Keepers of the Sword during an Order of the Sword ceremony for Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., March 19, 2012. Gould is the 234th inductee into the Order of the Sword. (U.S. Air Force photo/Raymond McCoy)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Academy's enlisted corps inducted Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould into the Order of the Sword during an emotional ceremony at the Arnold Hall Ballroom March 19.

The award, established by Military Airlift Command's enlisted corps in 1967, is presented to individuals whom the NCO corps wishes to honor.

According to the Order of the Sword manual, the sword is a symbol of truth, justice and power rightfully employed, and serves as a token for all to see and know that here is a leader among leaders, an Airman among Airmen.

Inducting a senior leader into the Order of the Sword is the highest recognition enlisted Airmen can bestow on a leader, said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, the Academy's command chief.

Gould was truly honored as he accepted the award from the enlisted members who attended the ceremony.

"I can't thank you enough," he said. "It's through the hard work and dedication of so many Airmen that brings us together like this. As I think back over my time, every sortie I've ever flown, every paycheck any of us has ever cashed, every meal we've had in a dining hall, every room we've checked into in billeting, every ride we've ever had down the flightline or anywhere with (transportation), every hospital appointment, every telephone call we've ever made, every computer problem we ever needed solved, and every trip through the gate, we have an Airman to thank."

Gould continued his praise for the enlisted corps and spoke of their contributions to the Air Force mission.

"Our enlisted core has rocked for many, many years and they continue to do so every single day," Gould said. "Everything we do here at the Air Force Academy to develop our cadets into leaders to go out and lead our country happens because of you. We simply could not do our mission without the work you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Gould also challenged the enlisted corps to continue their proud contributions to the Academy mission.

"I would just ask that as you think about the vision that we have here at the Academy of creating this sense of fanatical pride in this institution, that you all would take pride in knowing that each one of you, in your organization and as team members have made a difference," Gould said. "You've made a difference in the lives of cadets, which makes a difference in the future of our Air Force, which makes all the world of difference for the security of our nation. Thank you for this honor, for your dedication, for your integrity, service and excellence. God Bless you all."

Salzman concluded the ceremony by thanking all the Airmen, NCOs, senior NCOs and retirees who attended and thanked them for being a part of the Order of the Sword ceremony.

"Be proud of who you are, of the stripes that you wear, and be proud of the creed that you follow and the commitment that you carry," Salzman said. "I am proud of each and every one of you."

Gould is the 234th recipient of the Order of the Sword, according to the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala., and Air Force reports.