“One of the most powerful forces in the world is the will of men and women who believe in themselves, who dare to hope and aim high, who go confidently after the things they want from life.”
– Richard DeVos (co-founder of Amway)
“Aim High… Fly-Fight-Win” was designated the official motto of the U.S. Air Force in 2010 after nine months of extensive research and development. This two-sided expression represents the bigger picture of the total Air Force (past, present and future), while encompassing all those who serve.
“Aim High” acts as a call to action, while “Fly-Fight-Win” is the Air Force’s response to their commitment to defend the nation. Overseen (leadership oversight) by the Air Force’s chief master sergeant, director of public affairs, director of force management policy and commander of recruiting services, the team who came up with this simple, five syllable motto included two generals, a colonel, a scientist and the Air Force’s top enlisted man.
The research was extensive, beginning with face-to-face meetings with approximately 300 airmen and covering job specialties in every major command. These meetings gave the team a holistic view of how airmen perceived their service, to be airmen and what made the Air Force unique.
From there, the team instituted an Air Force-wide survey to corroborate these views. This served to confirm that airmen felt empowered to bring excellence and innovation to their mandate, as well as sharing pride in their adaptability to meet any threat. The team then began unifying words and concepts, holding more face-to-face meetings, not just with airmen (active and retired), but with Air Force civilians and the public, as well as another Air Force-wide survey, to come up with five candidates.
The candidates were presented at the CORONA Conference (an annual gathering of Air Force generals). Since its choosing, the motto has been integrated into all aspects of the Air Force.
Unlike slogans and phrases, which come and go, mottos are meant to tie each generation together. And this one certainly does, from those who made the Air Force what it is today, those who now carry on its mandate and traditions, to those who will someday step up and fill their shoes.
“Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win” is the proud voice of what it means to be an airman and to serve with honor, the nation they are commissioned to protect.