Great relationships, incredible experiences, fantastic mentors

Great relationships, incredible experiences, fantastic mentors

Col. Matthew Newell, 7th Bomb Wing vice commander.


A lot of Airmen ask me, “When did you decide to make the Air Force a career?”

I never woke up one morning and said, “I’m going to make the Air Force a career.” I enlisted in 1995 as a firefighter with a simple goal—to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I intended to serve four years, then separate. However, through great relationships, incredible experiences, and fantastic mentors, the years began to fly by. Before I knew it, one day I woke up and realized I had been in the Air Force for over two decades. It’s definitely not the same for everyone. No matter the extent of service each Airman gives, short or long, our great country benefits. Each Airman has to pave their own way and decide if the Air Force will be a long-term commitment or just a portion of their life story.

Everyone joins the service for different reasons, but there are some things that unite us together: a shared sense of purpose and the belief that we are stronger together than as individuals. The people we serve beside are very important and have truly changed my life. These men and women are who inspired me to continue serving, and the opportunity to lead and give back is something I will cherish until my final days.

Over my career, I’ve had a number of amazing Airmen show me everyone brings something to the fight—from our youngest enlisted to our most senior officers. Whether it was my first supervisor who convinced me to pursue my commission, or my squadron commander at Offutt Air Force Base who showed me the importance of mentorship by taking the time to truly develop me as an Airman. These individuals made it very clear that leadership is not just about rank, but actions, integrity, and the willingness to invest your time in others. It is our commitment to “Service Before Self” that genuinely makes us the greatest Air Force in the world.

I’m most proud of our Airmen who stand ready to answer our nation’s call. We’re well-rehearsed, well-trained, and committed to something bigger than ourselves. Through good and bad times, we’re willing to put aside our differences and work together to accomplish the mission. I think that’s a very powerful statement about who we are as a community, and as an Air Force.

I feel grateful to have been given this opportunity to be a part of the 7th Bomb Wing and surrounded by men and women like yourselves. Thank you…you are part of a special team and we are lucky to have each and every one of you!