November 1, 2010  

Motto mouthful

TO THE AIR FORCE for spending $400,000 and taking eight months to come up with a new motto that’s really just two recruiting slogans slapped together.

“Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” is hardly catchy, roll-off-the-tongue stuff. Try saying it out loud and the problem is immediately apparent: It’s a pair of dull slogans bridged by an awkward hiatus.

It’s also a compromise. The Air Force rightly canvassed airmen to get their opinions on five slogan contenders, one being “Aim High” and another being “Fly, Fight, Win.” None of the five was clearly and enthusiastically received, however. But instead of starting over, the Air Force lumped together the two most popular phrases, creating a mouthful that’s as uninspiring as it is unimaginative.

It’s easy to poke fun at mottos and dismiss them as trivial. But they have a valid place in military services to help strengthen esprit de corps. Done right, they are an enduring — and endearing — rallying call. Look no further than the Marine Corps’ “Semper Fidelis.”

The lackluster response to its survey was a red flag for Air Force leadership. They ignored it. This string of words won’t inspire and neither will it endure.