Commander’s Comments: A Spiritual Journey as a Commander
The following appeared as an article in the 180th Fighter Wing publication The Stinger, but was removed by order of the Wing Commander, Col Craig R. Baker, because of a complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein that it was “odious” and “offensive.” (See discussion here.) The sentences in which Col Marquinez mentions his faith are highlighted.
Colonel Florencio Marquinez
Medical Group Commander
First, I want to honor and thank you, present and past veterans, for your dedication and service to our wonderful, great nation. Every military branch has their own creed, serving as a guidepost for our actions. Each creed has similar themes and values reminding us of our responsibilities and duties when we put the uniform on. Of course, the most important to us, and my personal favorite is the Airman’s Creed.
I am an American Airman.
I am a warrior.
I have answered my nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to fly, fight and win.
I am faithful to a proud heritage,
A tradition of honor,
And a legacy of valor.
I am an American Airman,
Guardian of freedom and justice,
My nation’s sword and shield,
Its sentry and avenger.
I defend my country with my life.
I am an American Airman:
Wingman, leader, warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter
And I will not fail.
As your medical group commander, our mission is to keep our Stingers medically ready at all times. We all must be fit to serve the Governor of Ohio in times of a natural or man-made disaster, civil disturbances or for the President of the United States during war or peacetime contingencies.
For the past 36 years I have been in the military. I started out as a young enlisted member reaching the rank of sergeant and worked my way up to colonel. Over the years, I have moved between three branches of service including the Marine Corps, Army National Guard and now as a member of the 180th family in the Air National Guard. There have been many challenges and adversities along the way that really impacted my life. I was challenged with the loss of my father at age 24, discrimination, career advancement, college, exposed to all walks of life; drugs, alcohol, immoral lifestyles and the many challenges of patient care. It is my strong spiritual foundation that has kept the light shining on my path. I would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for my mother leading our whole family to Jesus Christ. Her creed to us five children growing up is God first in your life, then comes family and third work.
The Air Force core values of service before self, integrity first and excellence in all we do also serve as a foundation in my life. I believe God expects us to live our lives by these values. As a commander, I deal with a diverse group of medical specialties, medical logistics, administrators, nursing service, medics, dental, optometry, public health, bioenvironmental and physicians. I try to emphasize that everyone is unique and have their own special talents that can create a successful organization when combined. I encourage empowering people with their talents and strengths no matter how young or old and regardless of if they have rank on their sleeves or collar. Humbleness and the ability to listen and respects the ideas of one another are vital because they work towards sustaining successful organizations.
My career both in the military and civilian world have brought many challenges and struggles but one verse from the bible that helped me get through them is from Matthew 19:26: With God all things are possible.
So no matter how stressful your life can be with juggling family issues, relationships, career advancement, work, school, or any burden that life throws your way, cast it upon the Lord and He will sustain you. In 2006, the phrase “In God we Trust” was the 50th anniversary of its adoption, the Senate reaffirmed it as the official national motto of the United States of America. This phrase can also be found in the bible in Psalm 118:8, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 73:28 and Proverbs 29:25.
Our DPH, Alina Fuller, emphasized the four pillars of wellness: spiritual, social, emotional and physical. The goal is to achieve a healthy balance in all four. When we slip in one of these areas the others become unbalanced causing a lower ability to achieve resiliency in life.
The military has many resources through the Director of Psychological Health, Chaplain’s office, medical services and various training opportunities to help you achieve success in your professional, personal, and spiritual development.