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Flexibility: The Key to Airpower

Wild Blue Yonder / Maxwell AFB, AL --

In a ceremony combining established, solemn ritual with new, medically necessary protocols, 967 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets will graduate April 18, launching careers in the Air and Space Forces as second lieutenants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)
Air Force Academy prepares for historic graduation
In a ceremony combining established, solemn ritual with new, medically necessary protocols, 967 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets will graduate April 18, launching careers in the Air and Space Forces as second lieutenants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)
Photo By: Trevor Cokley
VIRIN: 200417-F-AF999-0014

(US Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

The impact of COVID-19. In a ceremony combining established, solemn ritual with new, medically necessary protocols, 967 US Air Force Academy cadets graduated 18 April 2020, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, launching careers in the Air and Space Forces as second lieutenants. Similar precautions and flexibility must be undertaken to see AFROTC cadets through their Field Training this summer.

The Tenets of Airpower are among the first principles we are introduced to as Air Force ROTC cadets. We abide by these tenets to fully ensure air supremacy and understand how our military forces should operate. Arguably, one of the most important of these tenets is flexibility. Flexibility allows airpower to exploit mass and maneuver simultaneously.1 In our country’s current state, due to COVID-19, flexibility is one of the most important assets we possess as Airmen and future Airmen.

As a current 200 cadet, I am awaiting Field Training this summer. Until a few months ago, we were training as usual and preparing for field training like many cadets have before us. Then COVID-19 hit our country and changed our plans. We are now learning and practicing all of our skills for Field Training in an online environment and without our fellow cadets from our detachment. Personally, I had to get creative to think of ways to study and practice essential Field Training maneuvers on my own. Some things I have done include writing and posting warrior knowledge quotes around my room, practicing dining facility procedures during at least one meal a day, and yelling commands to prepare my voice for Field Training. Although this was a strange transition, I reflected on flexibility as embodied in the Tenets of Airpower. To get through the new obstacles COVID-19 has plagued us with, we need to be flexible. This is how we will get through these times and how we will prevail together.

Although COVID-19 is impacting us as AS 200s with Field Training, it also is impacting the AFROTC AS 400s with commissioning, and active Airmen with the stop movement orders.2 Due to the social distancing policies and the numerous travel bans that are in place, many Airmen and future Airmen are unsure about what will happen within the next few months. If we keep in mind the Tenets of Airpower and remain flexible, we will maneuver through the new issues more efficiently. I think, with flexibility, we will get through COVID-19 and gain new and useful experiences throughout this journey.

Cadet Tori Kane

Cadet Kane is a member of West Virginia University’s Air Force ROTC, Detachment 915. She wants to pursue intelligence once she commissions into the Air Force. Her hobbies include biking, drawing, and music.


 

Notes

1 Daniel A. Pinnell, “The Tenets of Airpower in an Insurgent Environment,” Air Force Basic Doctrine, 2008, https://doi.org/10.21236/ada498809.

2 US Department of Defense, “Overseas Stop Movement Order in Response to COVID-19,” 25 March 2020, https://www.defense.gov/.


 

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