The top civilian, officer and enlisted leaders of the Air Force and Space Force on Wednesday denounced last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, and called on service members to uphold their oath to the Constitution.
“We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the Jan. 13 letter, obtained by Air Force Times, reads. “On the 6th of January, the violent assault on our nation’s Capitol was an attack on the foundation of our great republic. Our oath demands we are unwavering in safeguarding American ideals.”
The letter was signed by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, and Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman, the senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force.
Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Malinda Singleton confirmed the letter was sent to all airmen and Space Force guardians.
The letter began with a reminder to service members of the importance of acting in ways that uphold the trust placed in them by the American people.
“As military and civilian airmen and guardians, we have a job to do,” the leaders wrote. “Guided by our core values, the American people expect us to be disciplined and focused on defending our country. Our actions build the sacred trust placed in the military by American citizens, but our actions can also erode our credibility as an institution.”
“You are called to exhibit conduct of the highest standard,” they said.
This letter followed a similar one signed a day earlier by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which include Brown and Raymond.
That Joint Chiefs letter used stronger language to describe the violence at the Capitol, including “sedition” and “insurrection,” which the Air Force’s letter does not use.
“It is a privilege to serve with each of you to defend the nation and the rights imparted to the American people by our Constitution,” the Air Force letter’s final paragraph begins. “Remain steady and stay focused on your duties to the country. We are proud to stand beside you in service to our nation.”
Valerie Insinna contributed to this report.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.