Unique is not necessarily special

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Capt.) John W. Schuetze
  • 99th Air Base Wing Chaplain's Office

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - Although our Armed Forces provides a unique type of service, it is not necessarily special.


There are many different types of service even within the Armed Forces:  Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.  Within each of those we have active-duty personnel and reservists.  We have National Guard as well.


Each member provides a unique type of service.  Although those services are different, no one of them is necessarily better or worse than the others.  So, although the Armed Forces exists to provide a particular service, we, as members of a particular service, do not accomplish our service or mission alone.  We depend on each other and on our sister services, contractors and alliances with other countries to accomplish the mission. 


We find a similar situation in the communities in which we live.

Those of us who work here at Nellis Air Force Base often live elsewhere.  Our children may attend schools near where we live and we may attend a church near where we live. 

However, we also rely on all of the services provided by the communities in which we live and we depend on our local business community.  Even on base, we rely upon the outside services that are provided.  So, whether we are in need of shopping, entertainment, utilities, roads and communication services, or medical, legal or religious services, we rely on many different organizations and people.


What is it that allows a something to become special? 

Consider this: If a particular make and model of a vehicle is manufactured on a Monday, is it different from one of the same make and model manufactured the following Friday? 

Externally it may appear the same, but one of them may be better manufactured than the other depending upon the circumstances affecting the person engaged in the manufacturing process.

Similarly, does a particular airplane fly the same in all circumstances?  Or does it behave differently depending upon the pilot?  Or, does that same plane change depending upon who is maintaining it?  I think it is fair to say that, even though items appear to be identical, many things cause things to be different from the external appearances. 

Even when dealing with the same item, that item may be different from one day to another because of the person using it. 

During our lifetime we will encounter many wonderful, technologically-advanced things, each one capable of carrying out a particular function.  Many people may be able to operate them.  Only a few will do so in a way that is special.  It is always the person that makes it special. 


Though we are all members of the military services the U.S. Air Force is unique among them. 

In addition, each Airman is unique within the Air Force. 

We work together, not only to accomplish the Air Force mission, but also to ensure the success of all those who serve and protect.  It is clear that we depend upon others as much as they depend on us.  It is our willingness to work together for the common good that makes each us special! 

We may want to be the best at what we do, but peace and harmony will come only when we recognize our common bonds.  We cannot afford to succeed in life at the expense of someone else.  In life success has to mean that all succeed.


May I suggest that you take time to attend a Storytellers presentation? There you will meet and hear about the lives of Airmen who are not only unique but special.  Each one tells of a personal journey traveled in the company of others.  Though each one describes his or her individual struggle and effort, I have not heard any one of them claim to have made it on his or her own. 

They each understand how, as individuals, they are indebted to the community and responsible for its betterment.