One big Air Force

By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.
Air Force Social Media

It’s not a foreign principle in the Air Force to understand that we participate, train, educate and support one another as fellow Airmen. In my opinion, it’s truly part of what makes us the world’s greatest Air Force.

But what does that really look like?

Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work side-by-side with members of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. I’ve seen firsthand that there isn’t any difference in our performance, standards and expectations for one another as Total Force Airmen. I’m glad to be a part of a truly diverse organization where it’s really important to embody all aspects of the organization to grow and become better in the future.

“We are absolutely committed to creating a fully integrated operationally relevant and capable total force,” said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff. “One Air Force.”

During my deployments to the Middle East, I’ve had the privilege to really learn from my Guard and Reserve brothers and sisters in the Air Force. I learned that they carried pride in the uniform and their respective component. What drew them to the Air National Guard or Reserve was the same thing that drew me — wanting to serve my country in an honorable way. Not only did I work with them, but I also lived with them in a deployed environment.

When we worked long days and nights pulling security detail on the flight line or providing input about current operations to our leadership, we realized that in order for unit cohesion and morale to improve it would be imperative for us to address the issues that stood in front of us.

We talked about our different experiences and jobs in the Air Force. We shared old war stories while at our current war. The conversation became a bridge that would allow us to discover the root of our issues with one another. Simply, I had brought my negative bias and stereotypes about Guardsmen and Reservists into this environment. Those thoughts didn’t help bring us together faster but became a barrier for me personally.

One conversation led me to discover that I had a misconception of what the other parts of the Air Force did. I admitted to my fellow Airmen that I assumed I knew their mission and vision.

“We are held to AFIs and regulations just like Active Duty,” said Air National Guard Tech Sgt. Charlette Castro.

We are all Airmen, and it’s our duty to incorporate the institutional competencies of the Air Force. We also need to remember that our responsibility to brothers and sisters in the profession of arms isn’t segregated to active duty only. It encompasses the Total Force.

I’m glad to be part of a truly diverse organization where it’s really important to embody all aspects of the organization in order to grow and become better.

 

Airmen and the almighty dollar

By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
Air Force Social Media

These tips will help you succeed in avoiding some of the financial management pitfalls many Airmen experience when they join the Air Force. Work with your local Airman and Family Readiness Center to discuss other financial issues.  (U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff. Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)
These tips will help you succeed in avoiding some of the financial management pitfalls many Airmen experience when they join the Air Force. Work with your local Airman and Family Readiness Center to discuss other financial issues. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff. Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

As part your initial training when you join the United States Air Force, you attend briefing after briefing and complete numerous computer-based training courses on topics like Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Air Force culture and standards. As a young Airman, I took these briefings for granted. You get flooded with information, but most of it goes in one ear and out the other. But, little did I know how valuable this information would become as I progressed in my Air Force career.

Continue reading Airmen and the almighty dollar

Air Force Cycling Team takes on RAGBRAI

By Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo
Air Force Cycling Team

I just went back and re-read my daily post from a year ago when we were on the road to the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Life seems to come full circle as I’ve done the same things at the same time for the last 10 years like attending RAGBRAI. The only things that change are the faces of the people sitting behind me in the van. This year, we have 17 people who are riding with us in a convoy, and only three of us have returned as riders. These people will plug into the larger group totaling 125 riders.

You can see the excitement and some anxiety on the faces of the newbies as they ponder how they will hold up during a week of riding.

Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo, the executive director of Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, takes a selfie with members of the Air Force Cycling Team. (Courtesy photo by Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo/Released)
Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo, the executive director of Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, takes a selfie with members of the Air Force Cycling Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo/Released)

Each year, I look in the rearview mirror of the van we are traveling in, and focus on the faces of the riders coming out of Texas. I feared for some of them may not being able to the finish the 500+ miles on their bicycles.

So far all of them have succeeded. This year’s group has some of the same anxieties, but I believe they will divide and conquer. Mainly because I have watched them take care of each other on training rides, and I saw how they have gotten stronger and more confident.
The first three days of RAGBRAI is the test. The first day has its challenges of climbs and the third day is the mandatory century (100 miles) day for the Air Force riders since the distance gives us more opportunities to assist other riders with maintenance and first-aid issues.

Making it through the mental dealings of forcing your body to obey you with three consecutive days of riding is a challenge.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights from our trip to RAGBRAI last week.

Continue reading Air Force Cycling Team takes on RAGBRAI

The Oath of Enlistment

By Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Social Media

When you join any branch of the U.S. military, you take an oath of enlistment. Sometimes this oath is conducted in a private ceremony with only a handful of individuals, but other times it is performed in front of sold-out stadiums. I’ve gathered a few photos highlighting our Delayed Enlistment Program enlistees who are taking their first steps toward enlisting in the Air Force.

The first time someone has the opportunity they will resemble their civilian side. The second time they say the oath will be at basic training graduation, which signifies their transformation from civilian to Airman.

DEPer takes oath of enlistment
Ruben Gawan, son of Chief Master Sgts. Lori and Phillip Gawan, takes the oath of enlistment Nov. 2, 2013, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. After 19 years of traveling around the globe with his parents as a military dependent, Ruben decided to enlist in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chase Hedrick/Released)

The oath of enlistment can be performed anywhere, and sometimes there are opportunities to perform it in front of huge audiences.

Thunderbird officers performs the oath of office.
Maj. Tyler Ellison, Air Force Thunderbirds pilot, administers the Oath of Enlistment to enlist Florida’s newest Airmen during the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Expo Air Show at Lakeland, Fla., April, 25, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/Released)

Many people have seen it conducted before baseball, football and even NASCAR events.

DEPers take oath at a minor league baseball game.
Members of the 331st Recruiting Squadron Delayed Enlistment Program take the Oath of Enlistment at the Montgomery Biscuits annual Military Appreciation Night baseball game June 13, 2015. Maj. Gen. Maury Forsyth, Spaatz Center commander, administered the oath. (U.S. Air Force photo by Donna Burnett/Released)

One great aspect of taking the oath after your first enlistment is someone can make it memorable.

Oath taken under water.
Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnes, 325th Communications Squadron quality assurance NCO in charge, prepares to take the Oath of Enlistment June 26, 2015. His re-enlistment was done 70 feet under water. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

These Airmen reenlisted during their deployments. Not only are they honoring our country, they are making an added commitment to protect it while deployed.

Deployed Airmen take the oath of enlistment
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. LaMarcus Molden, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq personnel manager, recites the oath of enlistment along with 125 other service members during a re-enlistment ceremony at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Oct. 5, 2011. Molden was deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and is originally from Albany, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo/Released)

Sometimes you have those people who like to add a little flair to their oath. This Air Force PJ performed the ceremony and then jumped from a C-130! Go big or go home.

Jumping from a C-130
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kristopher Tomes, a pararescueman with the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, re-enlists aboard a HC-130 minutes before jumping near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 19, 2013. Tomes is deployed from the 308th Rescue Squadron and has performed more than 150 jumps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller/Released)

If you’ve ever taken the oath of enlistment, feel free to share your story with us!

July 9 RECRUITING TWEET CHAT

The Air Force Recruiting Service and the Air Force Public Affairs Agency teamed up and held another Tweet Chat session! We helped answer countless Air Force related questions such as, “Should I join the Air National Guard? Or go active duty?” and “Do I have to cut my hair if I join?” If you didn’t catch our recent session, click “Continue reading” to see what you missed out on!

Continue reading July 9 RECRUITING TWEET CHAT

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