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Your 7 favorite social media moments in 2014

By Capt. Victoria Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

It’s hard to believe how quickly this year has flown by! It seems like only yesterday we were ringing in 2014, yet here we are bidding it adieu. This was a tremendous year for the Air Force, filled with many memorable moments.

We took a look back at all of our posts from 2014, and here’s a short list of the ones that touched you the most:

1. This is great video of Lester West, a Basic Military Training barber at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas. Mr. West has been cutting hair at BMT for more than 50 years, and many of you remember him helping you ‘style’ your hair the BMT way!

Air Force BMT barber Lester West

2. We admit it – the F-22 Raptor is a sexy plane. You guys tend to agree. This video topped our charts in 2014.

The F-22 Raptor flies high in this video.

3. Thankfully, this horrific photo doesn’t depict the end of an Airman’s life. First Lt. Laura Jones’ dream to fly in the Air Force came to a screeching halt after a vehicle accident left her with a broken jaw, femur and wrist, and other serious injuries. The Laughlin Air Force Base instructor pilot got back in the cockpit in April 2014 after four months of grueling therapy and recovery. You guys really showed her what AF love and support means!

An Airman's vehicle after a terrible car accident.

4. This quote had our fans inspired. It was the most-loved of the year.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. – Henry Ford

An Air Force B-1B Lancer takes off at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

5. Our Sunday Soundoff posts are always fun, but our fans especially loved this post on Aug. 24.

What was your favorite part of Basic Military Training? These Airmen summed up their experience in a two-minute video.

Airmen act out a fun video on Air Force Basic Military Training.

6. Unfortunately, the Air Force and the world had to say goodbye to a beloved actor and supporter of the U.S. military, Robin Williams. Thanks for raising our spirits, making us laugh and sharing your infectious humor and generosity with thousands of service members throughout the world.

You shared more great pictures of Robin Williams with service members. See them here.

Air Force Maj. Robert Everdeen and actor Robin Williams.
Air Force tweet on Robin Williams

7. October 28 marked Lady Liberty’s 128th birthday. Fans loved this pic of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying high over this national monument.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the Statue of Liberty.

Did you have a favorite Air Force social media moment of 2014? Let us know!

I don’t want a “yes man”

By 1st Lt. Tiffany Caguitla
386th Expeditionary Medical Group

I’ll always remember the time a technical sergeant on our team disagreed with me during a meeting by telling me I was “overthinking the issue, and there’s a better solution.” I was a little taken aback. No one on our team ever contradicted my ideas in public, and I certainly never heard that I “overthought” situations! Who did he think he was?! Continue reading I don’t want a “yes man”

Six things only Airmen understand

By the Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Whether you were an aircraft mechanic who sported the Shade 509 fatigues during the 1960s or a new Airman who graduated from basic military training last week, there are common references only known to those who’ve been a part of the greatest Air Force in the world. Some have serious origins and some are just for fun — See which Air Force-isms made our list:

Airman SnuffyMaynard Smith AKA Airman Snuffy
Sometimes promoted to sergeant, this individual always seems to be in trouble and making poor decisions. Airman Snuffy is often used as an example by military training instructors to describe to new trainees unacceptable or poor behavior.

The fun part about this saying is that Airman Snuffy actually did exist. His real name was Maynard Smith, a tail gunner in WWII forced into the military by a judge after a run-in with the law. Being senior in age to most of his instructors, Smith took the first opportunity out of training to make rank by volunteering for aerial gunnery school. Smith’s first mission in war was on a B-17 that took heavy damage. The plane took over 3,500 bullet holes and caught fire multiple times during the mission. Smith single-handedly put out the fires, lightened the aircraft by throwing out supplies and rendered aid to the six wounded aircrew members on the flight.

His heroic actions earned him the Medal of Honor, making him the first enlisted recipient. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson arrived to present the Airman his medal, but Smith hadn’t been informed of the ceremony. He was later found scraping leftovers from breakfast trays after being placed on KP duty for disciplinary reasons. His often difficult personality forever branded future troublesome troops. More on the legend of Airman Snuffy here.
PHOTO: Maynard Smith aka “Airman Snuffy” chose to be an aerial gunner because it was the quickest way to make rank. (U.S. Air Force file photo)

Secret SquirrelAircrew members before Operation Desert Storm.
The term is thought to have been created during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 after seven B-52Gs from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, took off for the world’s longest combat mission. The BUFFS were carrying a “black” weapon that was developed under strict secrecy in 1987. The aircrews called it “Secret Squirrel” after a cartoon character, but it was officially designated the AGM-86C conventional air-launched cruise missile (CALCM). The term secret squirrel is used today to describe information that is deemed too sensitive to be discussed outside secure areas, or even the secure areas themselves.
PHOTO: Aircrew members gather for a photo at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., before the mission that will fire the opening shots of OPERATION DESERT STORM, Jan. 16, 1991. (Courtesy photo)

“Shut up and color!”Keep calm and shut up and color
This endearing term has been long used by Air Force leaders and supervisors to help motivate their Airmen to put the mission first and get their tasks completed. This statement reminds them to focus on the bigger picture, and how they fit into the Air Force as a whole. It is not intended to offend, but rather to encourage Airmen to reevaluate themselves as leaders and followers. More info about this term’s meaning can be found here.

Best and brightest
This somewhat overused term can be found on many officer and enlisted performance reports to describe Airmen who are considered the true “cream of the crop” in the Air Force. These Airmen go above and beyond Air Force standards to become the service’s leading commanders, supervisors and leaders. They are selected for highly-competitive jobs as aide-de-camps for general officers, Air Force representatives with top companies through the Air Force Education With Industry Program, first sergeants or even military training instructors. The Air Force also recognizes its “best and brightest” every year with the service’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year Award. This award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements. In short, this term helps identify Airmen who have excelled at their rank and in their career field. It signifies their commitment to joining the top tier of the Air Force and becoming one of the service’s future leaders.The 2013 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. PHOTO:The 2013 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year attended a reception and awards dinner hosted by the Air Force Association during the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington D.C. The OAY award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Varhegyi/Released)

Hurry up and waitAirmen process through a mock-deployment line during an exercise.
Wikipedia defines “hurry up and wait” as “any scenario where part of the time you are rushing and working very hard, and part of the time you are waiting around and prepared to work on demand and as needed.” It’s probably one of the most common phrases used by Airmen because it happens so frequently in the Air Force, such as in deployment lines, during exercises, and even at customer service offices. Airmen are frequently tasked to support functions and events where they are placed on “stand by” until they are needed or called upon.  This term is most often used to express frustration with lengthy processes and procedures.
PHOTO: Senior Airman Kalaya Irby, 30th Force Support Squadron customer service representative, assists Airmen to ensure the accuracy of their documents in preparation for future deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Antoinette Lyons/Released)

Squadron mottos and chantsCadets at the Air Force Academy shout a squadron chant.
Almost every squadron in the Air Force has some type of motto or chant they use to distinguish themselves at Air Force functions like award dinners and promotion ceremonies. Squadron chants help Airmen come closer together as a unit and enhance esprit de corps. It gives them something to bond them together when they are around other units or organizations from other Air Force bases too. Here are some of our favorite chants:

– “MXS, simply the best! Tell them why. We make them fly!”
– “What’s your profession? Fly, fight, win!”
– “Engineers lead the way!”
– “Best of the best! FSS!”
– “Med Group! Best care…anywhere!”
– “Pull chocks! Maintainers rock!”

PHOTO: U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 4th Classmen of Cadet Squadron 40 performs a squadron chant in front of waiting family members after the Acceptance Parade at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Kaplan/Released)

A trainee is urged to move faster by an Air Force Military Training Instructor.Move with a purpose
Being in the Air Force is more than working a typical 9-to-5 job. It’s a privilege to serve and defend the nation, and “moving with a purpose” is seen as a way that each Airman takes pride in their work and service. Airmen first learn about this principle from their military training instructors at basic training. At this point, it’s more of a motivational phrase to get someone moving in the right direction. The term is often reinforced at technical school and by supervisors at each duty station to instill in each Airman to accomplish every action with the mission or goal in mind.
PHOTO: A trainee is encouraged to move faster by an Air Force military training instructor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melinda Mueller/Released)

Can you think of some other Air Force-isms that didn’t make this list? Sound off in the comments below!

My mother; my hero

By 1st Lt Tori Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

When people ask about your hero, your response is likely to be someone well-known and famous; someone who impacted history or led an important movement; or someone whose words you live by and use as motivation to continue on.

My hero is not as well-known and famous. My hero is my mom.

Born in a small town in Poland in the 1960s, my mom and her family lived in a small cabin with a wood stove. They used it to cook and provide heat in the winter. No stranger to hard work, she’s told me stories of tending the gardens, milking and caring for the cattle and seeing to the chickens they kept for food.

When she turned 12, my mom left everything she knew behind to come to America. She lived with a distant relative of her family, a wonderful woman we always referred to as our aunt. She learned how to speak and write in English, how to sew and make her own clothes, and eventually, how to drive.

Although she was teased in school for her accent, she persevered and graduated with her peers. After graduation, she became an official citizen of the United States, a process she started five years earlier.

A year later, in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis, she decided to join the U.S. Air Force and enlisted into the air traffic control career field. Her service stemmed from a desire to give back to the country that became her second home.

The author's mom, pictured as a Tech. Sgt. in the Air Force.

My mom served the Air Force for 21 years and retired as a master sergeant. She now works as a Department of the Air Force civilian and has been for nearly 12 ½ years. Through it all, she raised my brother and me while we moved every two years with the military. We learned about different cultures, how to work hard and contribute around the home and community, and eventually, how to give back to the country. My brother and I both joined the Air Force and have a combined 13 years of service.

An Airman reenlists her brother in the Air Force.
PHOTO: Then 2nd Lt. Victoria Lalich reenlists her brother, Staff Sgt. Christopher Lalich, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in 2011.

I think my mom is a remarkable woman. Her devotion and dedication to this country and her job is inspiring to me and always has been. It’s what made me want to join the Air Force, and why I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in this country and in the military. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

You know you’re in the AF when…v4

By 1st Lt Tori Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The Air Force isn’t just a job to most Airmen…it’s a way of life. It’s engrained in you from day 1 of Basic Military Training and throughout the years of your career even as it fades, gets “reblued,” and sometimes wears thin — it never dies. This lifestyle means habits and quirks that made sense to others in the military will follow you throughout your life on the outside — where those same habits probably earn you a strange stare or two from the average passerby. So, let’s celebrate those quirks and habits with our fourth installment of: You know you’re in the AF when…

1) Your young children approach strangers in uniform and call them “Mommy” or “Daddy”


PHOTO: Chances are every single kid in this room called him Daddy when he walked in. Seriously, have you ever been to the child development center in uniform? It’s like an angry mob…

2) You make your bed at home with perfect hospital corners

Academy cadets stand by for a room inspection.

PHOTO: Because if you don’t make your bed with perfect hospital corners – people will die!

3) You have at least one pet with a military-related name

A retired military working dog makes himself at home.

PHOTO: Bonus points if the pet actually served in the military as well.

4) Saying sir or ma’am is automatic

A basic cadet at the Air Force Academy receives a verbal reprimand.

PHOTO: Just don’t confuse the two. You can only do so many “Ma’am you are a ma’am, not a sir, ma’am” pushups.

5) You always have a pen on you

Air Force Form 341

PHOTO: How else can you fill out your Form 341?

6) You aren’t sure what to wear to a business casual function
Air Force officers show off their 'party shirts'.

PHOTO: Party shirts anyone?

7) When the Internet is down, no one can work

An Airman inspects a computer motherboard.

PHOTO: Now…which button was it?

8) You can’t bring yourself to walk across the grass…ever

An Airman tees off on a golf course.
PHOTO: Except this grass…this is OK.

9) Your whole table orders water to drink at lunch

Airman pours water on his head to cool down.

PHOTO: Just don’t be like this guy in a restaurant. Wait staff won’t appreciate cleaning this up.

10) Ladies: you get your hair cut when you are home on leave visiting family because you can’t find anyone good near your base

Military member dontaes hair to charity.

PHOTO: Just a few inches off the bottom please…

In case this list didn’t seem complete to you, check out our first, second, and third versions. What’s your favorite military habit or quirk?