Labor Day 2014: Our Military Are ‘Workers,’ Too
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Tank Mechanic, Army Spc. Samantha Brumley, with Company F, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, Oregon National Guard, Aug. 20, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Wayne (Chris) Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Oregon Army National Guard
Labor Day was originally a day to give tribute to the men and women who, through hard, physical labor, built our country — the “working class.”
Today, we celebrate Labor Day to recognize the achievements of all American workers and the contributions they continue to make to our nation’s economy and to our country.
But as we recognize those workers, let us not forget that our military work, too.
They are scientists, doctors, electricians, aircraft mechanics, lawyers, nurses, engineers, cooks, truck drivers and pilots. They fly aircraft, drive tanks, “sail” gigantic, nuclear powered aircraft carriers and maneuver silent, stealthy submarines. They fire missiles and guns, drop bombs and food, water and medicines, too.
While you and I are celebrating the end of summer, they will be working — today, tonight, tomorrow, 24/7/365.
They will be flying combat and humanitarian missions over Iraq. They will be patrolling perimeters at God-forsaken outposts in Afghanistan. If lucky, they’ll get through Labor Day weekend without being shot at, without stepping on an IED, without being injured or killed.
This year, I have not yet seen a “Labor Day message” to our troops by a high Defense official — I am sure there have been some.
Three years ago, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta praised the work and achievements of U.S. service members and said in part:
For the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed on the frontlines of America’s wars, Labor Day will be just another day spent in harm’s way, providing for our nation’s security. It is because of your service that Americans can enjoy this and other holidays in safety and comfort. My thoughts go out to you, and to all of our personnel who must spend this weekend away from loved ones. America owes you a debt for your service in defense of the freedoms and liberties that are so precious to this nation.
I want to thank all of you for your willingness to serve a cause greater than yourselves, for your willingness to give something back to this country. You are what makes this country great not just on Labor Day, but always. God bless you all.
Here are some of the men and women Panetta was referring to:
Staff Sgt. Michael Griggs checks his work on a strut safety wire in an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Aug.12, 2014. Griggs is an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Callaghan)
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Thomas Biejansky, from Queens, N.Y., directing an aircraft onto a catapult under the supervision of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Stephen Trask, from Sacramento, Calif., aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpls. Jose D. Munoz, left, and Dylan Eckley disassembling a mine roller during the retrograde of Patrol Base Boldak in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Aug. 14, 2014. Munoz and Eckley are motor transport mechanics assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John A. Martinez Jr.
Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Alexandra Mimbela, from Trujillo, Peru, performs maintenance on an F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the Fighting Black Lions of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens
U.S. airmen palletize halal meals at a base in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Aug. 7, 2014, for a humanitarian airdrop mission over Iraq. The humanitarian aid includes bottled water and food, which was delivered to displaced citizens near Sinjar, Iraq. The airmen are assigned to the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgts. Stephen Brown and Emily Edmunds attach candy to container delivery system bundles filled with fresh drinking water on a C-17 Globemaster III in preparation for a humanitarian airdrop over the area of Amirli, Iraq, Aug. 30, 2014. The candy was collected by the squadron to supplement United States’ humanitarian aid. Brown and Edmunds, loadmasters, are assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
U.S. Marine Cpls. Armondo Cortez, left, and Estevan D. Hernandeza discuss their plan for dismantling the command operation center during the retrograde of Patrol Base Boldak in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Aug. 15, 2014. Cortez, a data network specialist, and Hernandez, a telephone switchboard and personal computer intermediate repairer, are assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John A. Martinez Jr.
All photos and captions: DoD