Families are foundation for our forces

Greetings! I am Technical Sergeant Phyllis Hanson, an 18-year-plus veteran, who is proudly assigned to Air Force Public Affairs Agency and the newest member of the Emerging Technology Division. I will be posting here on a regular basis and want to remind you that we all welcome your feedback.  Don’t forget to check out the Air Force on Facebook and  follow us on Twitter.

Family means everything to me. And when I recently read a poignant commentary, “Cherish your spouse,” written by General Stephen R. Lorenz, the Air Education and Training Command commander, it really struck a chord.

General Lorenz’ commentary sparked many thoughts in my mind about my own situation as well as thinking more about military members like me who are affected very deeply with deployments.familyfinal

Year of the Air Force Family (YOAFF) Week is kicking off November 1 and I’m excited to be a part of it. The Air Force has put together a great site, that I hope each and every Air Force member and their families will check out.

I am all too familiar with the painful struggles military members face — everything from making multiple moves, working long hours and the aforementioned deployments. It is especially hard on families, whether it’s the spouse, the children and the parents, and even friends.

On the YOAFF site there is a wealth of info — everything from YOAFF calendar of events; helpful resources; Air Force family articles and Health and Wellness, to support initiatives such as Air Force Cross Roads and Air Force Fit Factor. The site also has links on education, as well as Airman and Family Housing.

As outlined in August by Secretary Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, July 2009 to July 2010 has been designated as “Year of the Air Force Family.” It is a year-long focus on Air Force programs highlighting the importance of, and commitment to, the entire Air Force family: all Airmen, married and single; spouses; children; Air Force civilians; extended families; and retirees.

During my most recent deployment (6 months) to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, now named Transit Center at Manas, my fiance’ took care of my 8-year-old son, Gabriel. Talk about sacrifice and commitment! I just returned this July and immediately got orders to where I am today.

The deployment before that in 2007-08, I was stationed at Ali Base, Iraq, (during the holidays mind you) and my parents took care of my son. In 2005, a deployment took me to Camp Victory, Iraq and my former husband took care of Gabriel.

Gabriel was born just weeks after 9/11 and this wonderful and sometimes painful military life is all he knows. And while my brave, young son toughs out every situation, I realize how lucky I am to have a supportive and loving family who is always there for me.

I owe it all to my parents, fiance’ and even my former spouse. I would not be where I am today without their unconditional support and care. It really is all about the family.

Posted by Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Hanson.