An Airman's Perspective on the Air Force family

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- In this day of busy schedules and beyond-maximum ops tempos, it is hard to find a way to fit everything into a day. Male or female, married or single, the life of an Air Force member is just hectic! It is the pace of the world we live in - the fast-food, express-lane lifestyle that is common to so many people. Isn't it nice to know you're being taken care of by someone out there? Or do you even feel like someone is out there taking care of you?

When I came in the Air Force, I was told about an "Air Force Family" concept: that we are one big family serving together and should treat each other as kin. This is an amazing concept when it is applied, and it's meant to encourage esprit de corps and camaraderie among Airmen of all ranks.

I am sure there are stories out there people who were well looked after by their peers and/or superiors, or who were left to take care of themselves. I have stories reflecting both types of treatment, as I'm sure many others do. It always feels great to get some type of warm reception or solace as the situation warrants and, conversely, it's really awful to feel like you do not matter because nobody was there for you in your time of need.

Now we could all sit around, swap horror stories and complain...or, in the future, treat others with apathy or indifference. However, we must remember that Air Force family ideal and make a conscious decision to apply that concept with conviction. We must make sincere efforts to take care of our fellow Airmen - whether it means to help change a flat tire, sponsor an inbound individual, or submit someone for a decoration because they do an outstanding job - because it is the right thing to do and because the Air Force needs solidarity to stay strong and accomplish the mission effectively.

Most of you know the AF Core Values (at least I sincerely hope you do), but do you know the Air Force family values? We have a responsibility to the Air Force and to each other as Air Force members to take care of one another! Applying the following principles could help us all to make our Air Force better.

AF Family Value #1- Communicate!
When people truly feel they are being taken care of, they perform better. The Air Force expects its members to be customer-oriented, but we should also be Air Force family-oriented. When one of your family members has some kind of surgery, family tragedy, addition to the family, job promotion, etc., do you wait till they come to see you before you say something? A simple phone call to congratulate or console as necessary can work wonders for letting someone know that they are thought of and cared about. Everyone can benefit from the better performance that may result from these thoughtful gestures.

AF Family Value #2 - Do it better!
Instead of treating others the way you'd like to be treated, treat them BETTER than you were treated in certain instances or better than you would like to be treated if it is ever your turn to be in their position.

AF Family Value #3 - Get out of the 'zone'!
Step outside your comfort zone. You never know who you can help or who you can make a difference to if you don't leave your "happy place" once in a while. You may even help yourself along the way. For example, get involved with professional organizations/functions that serve the purpose of taking care of Air Force members and their families, like the Air Force Sergeants' Association, Air Force Association, and multiple other professional and volunteer groups geared toward taking care of all Airmen and their families. That's all of us!

I could go on and on, but here is the bottom line: we need to make sure we are taking care of each other and living up to the Air Force family concept, which is emphasized to us as soon as we join this world's greatest Air Force. It's for for everyone's best interest and the best interest of the future of the Air Force. Let's not be a dysfunctional family. By taking care of each other, we can get a lot farther than just looking out for "number one." We can go much further and achieve greater things when banded together as a group than we can solo.