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AFA superintendent invited into Order of the Sword
Lt. Gen. Mike Gould (back center) thanks the Air Force Academy's enlisted Airmen for offering him induction into the Order of the Sword during a ceremony at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dec. 13, 2011. Senior Airman William Magill and Airman 1st Class Joshua Bailey (foreground) held the ceremonial sword. Gould is the Academy superintendent. Magill and Bailey are assigned to the 10th Security Forces Squadron. Also pictured are, from left, 10th Air Base Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. David Staton, Paula Gould and Academy Command Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman. (U.S. Air Force photo/Elizabeth Andrews)
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AFA superintendent invited to join Order of the Sword

Posted 12/13/2011   Updated 12/13/2011 Email story   Print story


by Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

12/13/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould was invited by the Academy's enlisted corps to join the Order of the Sword during an emotional ceremony at the Falcon Club Dec. 13.

Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman brought the Academy's enlisted Airmen together in the Falcon Club ballroom under the guise of an enlisted call. He filled everyone in moments before Gould entered.

"This morning, we're going to do what enlisted people do best, and that's take care of our leaders," said Salzman, the Academy's command chief. "(Gould) has a passion for the enlisted corps and has for a long, long time: He had it while he was at 2nd Air Force, training our young enlisted men and women, and he had it before that at 3rd Air Force."

Gould entered the ballroom and spoke briefly, urging Airmen to take care of one another.

"There are lots of things to look forward to this holiday season, but at the same time, we collectively struggle with the stressors that come along with the holiday season," he said. "Our job is to look one another in the eye and make sure everyone's OK."

Citing Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," Gould encouraged the audience to make things happen.

Salzman addressed the ceremony's sergeant-at-arms, who, along with other chiefs, Air Force Academy band members, the Academy's honor guard and two Airmen from the 10th Security Forces Squadron, made things happen.

The honor guard stood with sabers at present arms as Senior Airman William Magill and Airman 1st Class Joshua Bailey carried a five-foot sword to the foot of the stage where Gould stood with his wife, Paula, and with Salzman and other chiefs from around the base. Salzman officially invited Gould to join the Order of the Sword -- an invitation that Gould, fighting back tears, accepted.

"I hope you dance," he said, then paused to collect himself. "Speechless is not even the word. You impress me so much, all of you. I don't know what to tell you other than thank you."
Inducting a senior leader into the Order of the Sword is the highest recognition enlisted Airmen can bestow, Salzman said. The induction process started some time earlier, but only a select few people knew about it more than an afternoon in advance. Magill was one of those few.

"I don't know of any better person to receive it," Magill said. "He takes care of the cops, and he appreciates all of us (enlisted Airmen)."

Mrs. Gould found out the day before the ceremony, which she said worked out well.

"You can only receive the Order of the Sword once in your life, so Todd approached me yesterday and asked me if Mike had ever received it before," Mrs. Gould said. "But that gave me the chance to bring the family out here for the ceremony this morning."

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

Gould will be the 234th recipient, according to the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala., and Air Force reports. His induction ceremony is scheduled for March 19.

12/20/2011 12:36:54 AM ET
Lets see. Mrs. Gould is crying. Gen Gould I heard he barely held it in and that man is passionate about his Air Force Academy. The Order of the Sword is not dead. Lt. Gen Mike Gould is more deserving of this recognition than any other General Officer serving today Go Falcons
Mike, Falcon CO
12/19/2011 11:59:17 AM ET
Greg if you knew or had ever worked with General Gould you would not say the OOTS is just another going-away gift. In this general's case the honor was very well-deserved.
Don Branum, USAFA
12/19/2011 1:40:15 AM ET
Another militsry tradition that needs to be retired as it no longer serves its intended purpose. The photo speaks for itself as nobody including the recipient appears to even want to be there.
Ron, SWA
12/16/2011 2:50:34 PM ET
Probably acrew served weapon since it's about 5 feet long.
John Wright, Scott AFB IL
12/16/2011 8:15:59 AM ET
The OOTS is meaningless nowadays. It's now just another going away gift for a three- or four-star.
Greg Arious, SWA
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