‘Excellence is no accident’: Academy’s 10th ABW commander speaks at National Educational Telecommunications Assoc. gala

  • Published
  • Laurie Wilson, USAFA Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The commander of the Air Force Academy’s 10th Air Base Wing said today’s Airmen are energized by excellence.

“We are not given permission to be average,” Col. Shawn Campbell said. “Excellence is the foundation upon which all Airmen stand today to reach higher.”

Campbell said this and more during his keynote speech at the Public Media Thought Forum Gala, Jan. 21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His speech highlighted the dedication to excellence he said is shared by the Air Force and public broadcasting.


The forum is sponsored by the National Educational Telecommunications Association and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NETA works to advance the quality of public media educational content. CPB funds public broadcasting across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“Excellence is no accident,” Campbell said. “The Air Force has an amazing heritage of excellence and a legacy to be cherished and lived-up to.”

Campbell shared stories of the Tuskegee Airmen, African-American fighter pilots who fought in World War II; the Flying Tigers, the First American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942 of Army Air Corps, Navy and Marine Corps pilots; and aviation pioneer Army Air Corps Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. All these Airmen use their education and training to supply excellence to U.S. military success.

The colonel said he’s motivated by Doolittle’s war fighting talent and commitment to education.

“General Doolittle’s commitment to educational excellence inspired me to continue pursuing my education,” Campbell said. “He believed in lifelong learning and higher education. In fact, he received a doctorate from MIT, where he invented instrument flying. Some of what he did 100 years ago, with such excellence, remains the basis for instrument flying.”

Campbell said he’s impressed by public broadcasting's efforts to promote education.

“Telecommunications as applied by NETA delivers excellence, through a focus on education and feeding the brain,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of America, including our states and territories, have direct access to high-quality educational and art-focused programming. The audience knows that the essence of a classic liberal education includes science, math, language and the arts.”

Campbell said he’s confident the Air Force and public TV will continue their traditions of excellence and hand down these traditions to future generations.

“NETA, this broader community and your Air Force are committed to this -- excellence in education, excellence in energy, excellence in engagement,” he said.

Timothy Eernisse, NETA'S vice president,  said Campbell’s connection to the Air Force and the Academy made him the right speaker for the event.

“Colonel Campbell combines living a life of excellence with a passion for lifelong learning, a perfect representation of the NETA Award recipients and their work," he said.

The 10th ABW is the Academy’s host unit, responsible for the base’s infrastructure, medical, security and all community services at the base.