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To the Airmen of the United States Air Force

WASHINNGTON -- NOTE: The following commentary is adapted from a Sept. 2 letter by Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.

We are a Nation at war. Sept. 2 marked the 1,426th day we've been fighting Operation Enduring Freedom. World War II lasted 1,347 days.

We've now been fighting the Global War on Terror for 2 ½ months longer than World War II. From the day Desert Storm kicked off, Jan. 17, 1991, the Air Force has been in continuous combat. For 14 years our enemies have shot at us and for 14 years we've returned the favor.

But no matter how long the road, we must never lose our focus on winning this fight.

Today, we are engaged more than ever ... from across the globe to here at home. From taking the fight to the enemy in Iraq; to rebuilding lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; to controlling satellites on the other side of the world; to fighting forest fires in the Rockies; to patrolling the skies over America – you can be proud of the work your Air Force is doing to protect our country.

I'm incredibly proud to be a member of an Air Force family that has more than 106,000 Airmen assigned or deployed in 64 countries, on every continent, and in every time zone throughout the world.

We have handled each and every task brought before us with lethal efficiency because of you. It is an honor to work and fight alongside you in service to our republic.

The 684,000 active-duty, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard members and civilians of the United States Air Force are truly a total force. We stand alongside our Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine brethren ready to answer the nation's call. We fight together. We triumph together. Our promise to the joint team is that as Airmen we will always be the best in the world at what we do: dominating Air and Space from 1 inch above the ground to 100,000 miles above the earth.

Today, we have three major challenges facing our Air Force. First and foremost is accomplishing the combatant tasks the president and secretary of defense assign. The tasks will be ones we've done before and ones we've never undertaken. Second, we must preserve that which makes us the most feared air force in the world – our people. Our culture of excellence must continue to develop Airmen ... Airmen who are the most adaptable, most skilled, most professional and most lethal the world has ever known. Third, we face the difficult task of operating the oldest inventory in the history of the United States Air Force. My senior leadership will work to break this vicious cycle. I need you, our Airmen on the line, to continue making the mission happen.

As we work towards a more secure, more peaceful tomorrow ... look around. Behind us you'll see a proud, rich heritage. And in front of us is a limitless horizon. So let's push it up, go to work and make the mission happen. (AFRC News Service)

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