Focus on key topics ensures mission success

Lt. Gen. Mike Gould assumed the role of U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent in a ceremony June 9, 2009. He is pictured here with his wife, Paula. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Lt. Gen. Mike Gould assumed the role of U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent in a ceremony June 9, 2009. He is pictured here with his wife, Paula. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- My return to the Air Force Academy, and having assumed the role of superintendent here since June 9, has been a whirlwind. While at the same time, I might refer to it as the perfect storm.

The entire Academy community has welcomed Paula and me with open arms, hearts and minds and we are most grateful for the opportunity to serve here with and among you.

Recently, I met with many of you in Arnold Hall for my first superintendent's call. For those around the Academy who were unable to attend, we covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. We focused on several key issues concerning the critical nature of taking care of families and one another; the benefit of sustaining an atmosphere of universal respect; and, we offered a direct reminder that we remain a country at war.

The Air Force Academy family includes cadets (the sole reason we are all here), active-duty and Reserve component Airmen, DoD civilians, contractors and loved ones who combine to complete the Academy's vital mission, day in and day out. Both Chief Salzman and I were emphatic concerning caring for our loved ones at home as we've learned that makes us more prepared to provide effective care to our extended Air Force family as well. The benefit of taking care of our own can never be overstated but is sometimes underappreciated. The bottom line is we ought to be looking for warning signs at all times and then be able to act quickly and decisively to resolve any issues that are potentially weakening our family, at home and throughout the Air Force.

You'll hear me speak often about respect.

Respect for human dignity must extend throughout every facet of the way we communicate with each other. We are to respect one another's needs, beliefs, religious affiliations, etc., period. Despite what many may perceive as differences, even to the point of creating division, at the end of the day, we are all part of the Air Force family. As a USAFA family, we're all here for one reason ... to mentor, instruct, guide and serve the future young officers of our United States Air Force. We must earn their respect ... and in doing so, we will surely gain theirs.

The stability of America, of the world for that matter, is on the line as we remain a country at war. In today's Air Force, we represent a people grounded in beliefs while embracing the value of freedom and the dignity of human life. With continued emphasis on the importance of family, fitness (body, soul and spirit) and who we represent, I believe America's future remains bright. It's only because of all of you that we already feel so welcomed back to TEAM USAFA. We couldn't be more excited about serving with you.

From both Paula and me, I want to extend a sincere thanks for making our Academy family heritage something we can all take pride in for generations to come.