From The Top: 'No bird soars in a calm'

Citizen Airman/Oct. 2017 -- What Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved on a cold winter day in the Outer Banks of North Carolina more than 100 years ago would change history forever: The age of flight had begun.

The first telegram back to Ohio to inform their parents of their great accomplishment read, “Success … Four flights Thursday morning … All against 21-mile wind … Started from ground level with engine power alone … Average speed through air 31 miles … Longest 57 seconds … Inform press … Home for Christmas.”

The book “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough tells the dramatic story of two courageous brothers who taught the world to fly. Page after page, the book describes the unyielding determination of two brothers who shared a dream.

Their father described them as “inseparable as twins” and “indispensable to each other.”

In 1899, in a room above their bicycle shop, they built their first aircraft – a flying kite made of split bamboo and paper with a wingspan of 5 feet.

Four years later, their flights at Kitty Hawk were one of the turning points in history. No one present that day could have imagined the impact those first-ever piloted flights would have on the world.

Competitors at that time would spend $70,000 of mostly public money to try to get a machine in the air, whereas the brothers would spend less than $1,000, paid from their meager bicycle shop profits.

A man who helped them in Kitty Hawk, John T. Daniels, said later that day, “It wasn’t luck that made them fly; it was hard work and common sense. They put their whole heart and soul and all their energy into an idea, and they had faith.”

The innovations across the years of flight have enabled the movement of people and goods, the advancement in seeing and understanding our earth and the visibility on the movements of a single individual on any given day, at any given moment, on any point on the globe.

This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our amazing Air Force. In 2018, we will celebrate the Air Force Reserve’s 70th anniversary.

It is mind-numbing to think of how quickly we have advanced in flight since that cold December morning in 1903 at Kitty Hawk. What should keep us spellbound is the promise of advancement in air and space flight envisioned over the next 70 years.

As the Air Force Reserve approaches its 70th birthday, I want to thank our amazing Airmen and civilians who contribute to tomorrow’s advancement in technology and capabilities, making us more agile, lethal and forward-thinking.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said, “Innovation is powerful when ideas from every level can make their way to decision-makers.”

Our opportunity to seize the moment is always at hand. Each of us must explore innovative methods to make our marks on the future Air Force.

You amaze me every day with your stories of perseverance, resilience and determination, and I am honored and humbled to serve with you.