Spirit of the Tiger

  • Published
  • By Col. Robert L. Maness
  • 377th Air Base Wing commander
The emblem of the 377th Air Base Wing features both a stylized aircraft and the head of a tiger. What that says to me is that our mission - providing nuclear surety in defense of our nation - means we must act with the spirit of the tiger. Like the tiger, we must prove ourselves to be strong enough to dissuade any potential adversary -- engaging us in a fight would be a losing proposition. Like the tiger, we must be ready, willing and able to strike when the need arises.

Nature has equipped the tiger with the awesome weapons of a superior predator - an array of razor-sharp claws and teeth strong and precise enough to kill its prey with a single, powerful stroke. Nature has also given the tiger the instinct and will to use its weapons day after day for a lifetime.

The nation's ultimate deterrent mission has been entrusted to our care, and we must embrace that responsibility. What we do every day is that important.
We are not the first to adopt the tiger as our symbol. The 37th Bomb Squadron, whose lineage goes back to World War I, took the tiger as their squadron symbol and displayed the tiger's spirit and aggression during the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in World War II.

We are not the first, but we must be the best. Our nation expects and deserves no less.

We all know that because of its size, complexity and responsibilities, the Air Force must have, and does have, a formal structure and rules governing our actions. However, that framework of instructions and technical orders leaves room for individual initiative while maintaining compliance.

Adopting and demonstrating the spirit of the tiger makes each of us perform better in the meaningful tasks set before us, and makes the wing function better in its mission of operating safely, securely and reliably within the nuclear enterprise.

I believe the spirit of the tiger resides within each of us, and there is no better place and no better time to bring it out than here at Kirtland.

That is our focus everyday.