A General’s take on the importance of Spirit of America
I had the privilege of serving 39 years in the Armed Forces of our great nation. A fighter pilot, I flew F-16s and commanded at every level until I retired in 2016 as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of U.S. European Command. I led US and NATO forces throughout Europe and in Afghanistan. It was an honor to sit at the same desk that Dwight Eisenhower did when he was the first SACEUR.
Shortly after retiring, I signed on with Spirit of America and joined their Advisory Board. I’m excited because Spirit of America is a unique organization that provides a new way for our citizens to serve the nation. Together we are helping our forces address their toughest challenges.
An increasingly aggressive Russia has chosen to be an adversary, posing a long-term existential threat to the United States that cannot be ignored. I am proud to see SoA doing its part. In Estonia, SoA provided exercise equipment for a park to build goodwill and strengthen relations between US forces and a local population bombarded by Russian propaganda. In Ukraine, SoA provided the support to launch an Army FM radio station to counter Russian aggression. There are many other examples. Spirit of America’s speed and flexibility are what we in the military call a “force multiplier.”
I cannot overstate the importance of America’s allies. Our allies came to our aid and support after the attacks of 9/11. They are on the front lines fighting Russia’s efforts to destabilize the societies and democracies that underpin Western civilization. Simply put, America and the freedoms we represent, cannot prevail without the aid of our allies. SoA’s mission is to support our troops and their missions. Thus, by extension we support America’s friends, partners and allies. Spirit of America demonstrates that we, the American people, not just our government and our military, support them. This is critically important in today’s world.
While our military is mighty, it is not our greatest national security asset: the American people are! Our most shining examples are those who choose to defend our great nation. Having served so many years in uniform myself, I really like the idea of our citizens getting more involved in supporting our military efforts. Spirit of America gives Americans an opportunity to serve the nation by supporting the safety and success of our troops and diplomats.
People often thank me for my service and I appreciate that. I’d like to thank you for your service by supporting Spirit of America. I hope you’ll continue to do so. SoA’s model of citizens serving the nation is powerful and can be game changing for our troops and for the country.
General Philip M. Breedlove
United States Air Force, Retired