CMSGT. Brian Kruzelnick ~ Why I serve

This is coming to you a day early, and appropriately so, as we celebrate our nation’s 246th anniversary and we ask one of our enlisted miliary members why they SERVE.

He is the USAF Command Chief Master Sergeant, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  As the commander’s principle senior enlisted advisor (he works side by side with 4 Star General Mike Minihan), he counsels on the effective employment of 107,000 Total Force Airman from 100 worldwide locations to support Rapid Global Mobility operations with a fleet of 1,100 aircraft.  He assures the commander’s intent is understood and executed through forming a connection between individuals, team members and the command, based on dignity and respect, with focus on inclusion, readiness, resiliency, training, growth and utilization.  This is imperative to executing the command’s core missions of command and control (C2) over inter-and intra-theater airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, global air mobility operations, presidential and senior leadership air transportation, while serving as the air component for U.S. Transportation Command, and supporting U.S. joint forces, allies and partners.

Lori and I have had the honor of travelling with our guest to Little Rock Air Force Base and Enid Air Force Base, attending quarterly conference calls, but, most recently, he visited Dover Air Force Base, where I asked him:  Why do your serve?

Hello teammates! I’m “BK,” and I’m a father, husband and approaching almost 30-years as a United States Air Force Airman.  For some, 30-years at the same job could feel like a lifetime, but for me, it feels like just yesterday I raised my right hand and swore an oath to support and defend our nation.

As we approach the celebration of our independence, personally, it’s a stark reminder of the cost of freedom.  Since 1776, no generation has been spared the responsibility to defend this nation.  From our civil war to the War on Terror, more than 1 million military members have paid the ultimate price.  In that number are some of my family, friends, subordinates and supervisors.

But why volunteer to sacrifice so much for current and future generations of people, most of whom I’ll never meet?  Great question!  I wish the answer was filled with nobility, patriotism and selflessness but initially, it was for different reasons.  I joined the Air Force to escape poverty, homelessness and demons.  At best, I was empty, broken and combative.  However, in time, things became more apparent.  I stopped running away and started running toward something…like purpose, virtue and commitment.

I’ve been all over the world fighting oppression and protecting freedom.  When I look into the eyes of a saved Afghan orphan child who now has a future or see the opportunities offered to my son, I feel gratified and proud.  My service is how I contribute to society, strive for a positive impact on this earth and show my worth to others. I serve for my children, wife, and YOU…all of those here today and yet to grace this earth.  I don’t see this as a sacrifice because, to me, there is meaning behind my service.  It’s defined by my titles of father, husband and Airman, and I pour everything I have into each title daily. I simply serve because it’s needed and matters.

Be blessed!