Tag Archives: holidays

Operation Warmheart: Airmen helping Airmen during the holidays

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

It’s amazing to see our Airmen and families come together to help those less fortunate in our communities. Their charitable spirit isn’t only for those outside the base, but for Airmen, families and civilians we team up with every day – our Air Force family.

One incredibly rewarding program many Airmen support is Operation Warmheart. This non-profit organization distributes charitable donations to service members and their families all year long, and disperses a majority of its funding during the holiday season.

In 2014, there have been many creative ways Airmen serving at bases around the globe have raised money and volunteered to organize Operation Warmheart fundraising events. Here are just a few examples of how Airmen have come together to help those in need this year.

Continue reading Operation Warmheart: Airmen helping Airmen during the holidays

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.

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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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.

Looking out for your wingman during the holidays

By Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

111208-F-SM817-001Editor’s Note: This is the first entry in a blog series on dealing with holiday stress, strengthening resiliency and linking Airmen to support networks and resources. Airmen are encouraged to seek help and know that they have an Air Force family ready to listen and provide support in times of need.

The holidays are meant to be cheerful, but for some Airmen it can be the most stressful time of the year. As it is most often a time spent with friends and family, this season can be a magnifier for those individuals with existing emotional or psychological issues.

Although we signed the dotted line and chose this life, it’s never easy to be away from loved ones. In 2009, I spent Christmas deployed to Iraq, while my pregnant wife and family were on the other side of the world. Even though I was able to watch my daughters open presents over the Internet, it wasn’t quite the same. For many Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, this has become a common place, but for others this can be the last straw.

There are countless reasons why someone may be feeling down. Some common causes could be: this is the first time he or she has been away from home on the holidays, financial problems or relationship issues.

Even though you may converse with your co-workers, do you really know what’s happening to them outside of work? We should be looking after our own throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. Each and every day we should look for warning signs, trying to find out the causes of why someone has become withdrawn or why someone is lashing out. 

Once you recognize that an Airman has a true problem, what next? You should try to talk to him or her, but more importantly – listen. If an Airman does not want to share his or her issues, provide reassurance and information on the various programs available to Airmen and dependents for private mental and spiritual care.

Each base provides mental health counselors. Chaplains and Military One Source are also good options. Base chaplains have a 100 percent confidentiality clause, while Military One Source provides up to 12 off-base counseling sessions per issue at no charge.

Other programs include the Suicide Prevention Line, which has a toll free number 1-800-273-Talk (8255). The Defense Centers of Excellence, available 24/7, is staffed by health resource consultants who provide information, resources and referrals for service members, veterans and their families. They can be reached at 1-866-966-1020 or resources@dcoeoutreach.com.

The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time in our lives, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed and powerless, please remember there is always a military support system.    

PHOTO:: Though Tech Sgt. Sonja Williams, 94th Airlift Wing Airman and Family Readiness specialist, simulates a depressed Airman, holiday depression is real. During this time of the year, people may experience heightened stress, fatigue, financial constraints and loneliness triggered by the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Chelsea Smith)

Holiday care packages

By 1st Lt. Victoria Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

As the holiday season approaches, so does the deadline for getting care packages to loved ones overseas on time. With the volume of packages sent around the world during this time of the year, the United States Postal Service has created a page to keep you informed of important dates for getting your packages in the mail.

Whether this is the first time your loved one has deployed, or the 10th, we know that it can be difficult to think of items to send them. So, to help everyone out, we’ve created a list of care package ideas.

*Be sure to check for any customs restrictions. Some items are not allowed to be sent through the mail to certain countries.*
• cookies, especially favorite holiday flavors
• cakes or quick breads
• instant coffee or drink mixes
• favorite seasonings
• items produced locally
• dry soup mix or noodles
• favorite snack items (e.g., sunflower seeds, energy bars, canned nuts, beef jerky, crackers, dried fruit, chips, popcorn and popcorn toppings)
• movies or DVDs of favorite TV shows
• artwork or cards from your children
• personalized calendar
• holiday decorations
• magazine subscription
• books
• puzzles, playing cards or small games
• sports team decorations
• comfy linens or towels
• photos from home
• personal products: favorite shampoo, nail polish, makeup, lotion, perfume or cologne, wet wipes, etc.
• gift cards for online music, apps, magazines and books
• holiday-scented air freshener
• craft kits (e.g., gingerbread house kit, scrapbooking, painting, sewing, knitting)

Don’t think of this as an all encompassing list. In fact, help us out and comment below with your favorite things to include in a care package!

Week in Photos, Jan 4, 2013

Staff Sgt. Delia Marchick

Air Force Public Affairs Agency

This is how our Airmen across the globe ended 2012 in the new year’s first Week in Photos.

 

A C-130 Hercules taxis to its parking spot in Southwest Asia, on Dec. 28, 2012. Snow removal teams used specialized equipment to clear the runways and taxiways after an overnight snowfall covered the flightline with more than three inches of snow. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Chris Willis)