From Recruiting Slogan to Air Force Motto: The Evolution of Aim High...Fly, Fight, Win!
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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On October 8th of this year, the Air Force announced the selection of its new motto Aim HighFly, Fight, Win. 1 This completed several months of research to find a service unifying rallying cry similar to the Marine Corps Semper Fidelis. This announcement came on the heels of terminating the Air Forces Above All recruiting campaign. Above All was seen by many as not just a recruiting pitch but the Air Force motto as well. The line between a motto and a recruiting slogan can be very thin. Semper Fidelis is the official Marine Corps motto. However, to many the recruiting slogan The Few, The Proud, The Marines serves just as well. The Air Force used five different recruiting slogans from 2000 to 2010 and found the slogans communicated not just to potential recruits but also spoke to the American public, sister services, Congress, and current serving members of the Air Force. Many of those groups saw each successive recruiting slogan as a new Air Force motto. So is there a difference Both can convey the culture and identity of the Air Force. Both can serve as a rallying cry. Does a recruiting slogan serve a distinctly different purpose then a dedicated service motto Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz recently stated A service motto belongs to those who serve.2 Recruiting campaigns may need to change periodically to keep the service current in the eyes of recruits as well as focusing on the opportunities the Air Force presents. The associated slogans may even attempt to convey what it means to be an airman and the values we hold. The service motto needs to carry an enduring, unifying concept capturing the essence of the Air Force mission all current and former members can embrace. It also needs to send that same message to our sister service partners and the American public we serve.