Tag Archives: Christmas

How will you earn your wings this holiday season?

By Maj. Gen. Theresa Carter
Commander, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (Provisional)

Like many of you, one of the things I enjoy doing every year during this season is watching the classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Many of us probably know the film by heart at this point in our lives. But for those who have not seen it, here’s a brief synopsis. The film is about an angel named Clarence who is trying to earn his wings and a man named George who plans to end his life by jumping off a bridge into icy water. The men cross paths when Clarence jumps into the water before George, to take George’s mind off his taking his life.

Clarence’s actions ended up taking George’s attention away from his attempted suicide and instead had him focus on saving this old man (angel) who was now wildly flapping his arms trying to stay above water.

George was ready to end his life because he was convinced things would be better if he had never been born, but — in fact — things would have been much worse. He wouldn’t have been there to save his brother from drowning, to help his neighbors secure desperately needed home loans or to provide a helping hand to his family.

George finally realized he made an impact every day in the lives of his family, friends and co-workers and pleaded with Clarence to let him live again. Clarence granted his wish and earned his wings by showing George how important his contributions were to the lives of others.

I never fail to take away a new insight or meaning from the film each time I watch it. I often wonder how many of us appreciate the impact we have every day on our fellow service members, civilian employees, family and friends. Whenever I have the chance to talk with students at Airman Leadership School, I always discuss the important role first-level supervisors play in the lives of the Airmen who work for them. Time and again in climate surveys, the one thing our Airmen say they value most is a simple thank you or a pat on the back from their immediate supervisor. When was the last time you thanked one of your subordinates at the end of the day for their efforts? Have you ever told them how important they are or how they contribute to successful mission accomplishment?

As we prepare to celebrate another holiday season and ring in a new year, stop and think about an average day at any military installation. Maintainers are preparing aircraft to fly. Aircrews are flying combat and training sorties. Combat support personnel are providing the infrastructure and services needed to support our service members where they live, work and play. Medical personnel are caring for our most precious resource – our service members, family members and retirees. Instructors are mentoring and training our future leaders. It’s not easy to keep all of these parts moving smoothly — every single person plays a key role and is essential to success.

Whether you are a supervisor or subordinate, recognize and understand the powerful influence your words and actions can have on those around you. I know personally of several individuals who decided to re-enlist rather than separate and, in the extreme, to live rather than to die simply because someone on that decisive day said, “Thanks, you’ve done well and we appreciate what you do for the unit.”

So during this busy holiday season, let’s take time to remember those who are deployed by sending a letter or email and checking in on their family. Let’s take time to visit those who must work over the holidays, standing watch at entry control point, operating control centers or caring for the sick and injured at our military hospitals. Let’s all remember to celebrate responsibly over the holidays by using designated drivers and employing personal risk management as we deck the halls and hang holiday decorations around the house. And finally, let’s take time to say thanks to the dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who keep our country safe each and every day. Let them know how important their contributions are to keeping our nation free. Let them know they make a difference every day. You never know…like Clarence, it just may help you earn your wings.

How will you earn your wings this holiday season?

Photo courtesy Picjumbo

12 examples of Air Force holiday cheer

By Sarah Swan
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Staff at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force searched the archives and found some examples of holiday celebrations and greetings from Airmen through the decades. As Christmas approaches, we hope you enjoy looking through these artifacts. Please keep our military members, especially those who are away from their loved ones, in your thoughts this holiday season and throughout the year.

Twelve Days of Christmas – Air Force style

By Staff Sgt. Antonio Gonzalez
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Most people are familiar with the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We put an Air Force spin on this classic song, highlighting events that take place AF wide during the holidays. So without further ado…

On the first day of Christmas my Air Force sent to me, a master sergeant on a Christmas tree.
Continue reading Twelve Days of Christmas – Air Force style

Do’s and dont’s for holiday gifts

By Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Public Affairs Agency Social Media Division

The holiday season is a time of laughter, and for those on the nice list, goodies and gifts. Lucky families who want to show affection for their Airmen should keep in mind the do’s and don’ts of holiday gifting. Although many Airmen made the nice list and will receive plenty of holiday treats for their efforts, your thoughtful gifts can quickly put them on the Air Force’s naughty list. The service’s version of the naughty or nice list can be found in AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance, and we’ve compiled a list of points to consider while shopping for your Airman this holiday season.



1. Tattoos/brands/body markings- What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but that giant, late-night tattoo will remain. You can give the gift of a tattoo, but make sure it’s within regulations.



2. Running shoes- Although there may be a kaleidoscope of sneaker colors available, those individuals aiming high must remain conservative and ensure bright colors and excessive ornamentation are left for their civilian attire.  We are the U.S. Air Force after all– how much flashier do we need to be?


AFI 36-2903

3. Sunglasses – Even though they block the sun, movie star glam is frowned upon. Speaking of holiday spirit and movie stars, past Airmen have included Jimmy Stewart and, ahem, Chuck Norris. Please choose plain black, gold, silver or brown shades for your Airman.



4. Hair color- If you’re going to treat your Airman to a new do, remember hair color can only be brown, blond, brunette, natural red, black or grey if it’s natural. Who says the military doesn’t provide options?



5. Duffle/backpacks- Although these items are always great gifts, they must be black or blue for your Airman to carry them in uniform. By the way, hitting a general officer with your bag while trying to salute is only funny on T.V. Carry it on your left side.



6. Phone covers- While in uniform, an Airman’s cell phone case can only be two colors — blue or black. Who doesn’t like a little bling, bling on a cell phone case? Um, the Air Force.

A night to remember, Dec. 19, 2012

by Tech. Sgt. Crystal Lee
Armed Forces Network – Incirlik Air Base

Some things occur in life that you never forget. Things that leave a scar and others that never even heal. There are lessons to be learned from those experiences, and I learned a big lesson on drinking responsibly at the tender age of 11.

So, I volunteered to share a part of my life normally reserved for those close to me. I decided to share a time that will never leave me in hopes others don’t have to experience the pain it brought. If you know me, you know that I keep family matters private. This account, however, may help sway someone’s decision and prevent an alcohol related incident.

It was Friday, date night for my parents.

I was 11 and my little sister, Jen, was 9. We were at the age many parents start to let their kids stay home alone. Mom and dad were invited to a party in Bowie, Md., which was about an hour away.

AWESOME! Jen and I had the whole house to ourselves. We proceeded to, you know, do typical kid activities. At around 2 a.m., we heard knocking at the door. I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood, so there was no way I was opening that door. The knocking persisted and we were terrified. Jen and I actually hid under the bed, because we thought someone was trying to break into the house.

The next morning, we woke up under the bed. We got up and knocked on mom and dad’s room door. No answer. I opened the door; they hadn’t come home.

I picked up the phone to call my grandpa and found it had been off the hook since last night. That’s when he told me mom and dad were hit by a drunk driver. He said it happened the night before around 1 a.m,. and he had tried to call us. Grandpa was the one knocking on the windows and doors.

Once we got to our grandparents house, we were told the details of the accident. My father was driving home on Oxon Hill Road when a drunk driver swerved into their lane and sideswiped them. Dad hit a telephone pole head on. Mom wasn’t wearing her safety belt, and her face went through the windshield. Dad had this crazy adrenaline rush and pulled my mom out of the car. We found out later his back was broken; he was out of commission for about six-to-seven months.

After gramps gave us the news, Jen started to freak out, and I started crying. I’m not sure if I was crying due to sadness or because I was angry as hell, probably both.

Sunday evening at around 5 p.m. our parents came home. They were lucky to survive. They recounted the events from that night. I asked dad if the drunk driver got hurt. Dad said, “No. The guy thought the whole situation was funny.”

Our lives drastically changed. No more family outings to the park, no more fun things and nothing normal for kids our ages. Instead, the next several months consisted of Jen and I taking care of our parents.

What upsets me the most is that this didn’t need to happen; responsible decisions could have prevented the entire event.

When someone abuses alcohol it affects more than just them. It has a ripple effect to everyone who cares about that person, those they hurt, and the people who are left behind to pick up the pieces. Take ownership and responsibility for your actions and what you put in your body. There are other things you can do besides drink excessively.

Find that niche that makes you happy–go to school, play video games, travel, etc. If you do drink, know your limit. Know when to say “when.” Ask yourself, “How are my actions going to impact other people?”

My life was affected by an irresponsibly selfish guy who couldn’t make the right decision concerning alcohol and almost killed my parents. Don’t be that person.

Photo: This photo was taken after a drunk driver hit the daughter of a military member. Alcohol-related incidents increase during the holiday season. (Courtesy photo)