Tag Archives: Lifestyle

How to use the new Airman Comprehensive Assessment

By Tech. Sgt. James Stewart
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Chances are if you’ve visited any Air Force websites recently you’ve seen the headlines “new feedback forms” or “AF implements new feedback process.” Big Blue has designed a new evaluation system for enlisted members and officers aimed at improving communication between you and your supervisor. The new Airman Comprehensive Assessment performance feedback tool goes live July 1, and it’s a good idea to get familiar with the intent of our new evaluation system and how you can best use it.

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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!

You know you’re in the Air Force when…v3

By Meredith March
Air Force Production Defense Media Activity

Sometimes “culture” just seems like a buzzword. But, initiatives and missions aside, the Air Force is more than just a career — it’s a lifestyle! Our first and second blog posts focused on our service’s sometimes humorous quirks and received a tremendous response from our followers. So without further ado, here is the third installment in the series. You know you’re in the AF when…

1. You consider your next PT test while browsing through the menu at your favorite restaurant.

Airmen exercising

Photo 1: You might even calculate exactly how much PT you’ll have to do to indulge and still pass the abdominal circumference portion.

2. In conversation, you use so many acronyms that your non-Air Force friends and family members have no idea what you’re saying.

Airmen and their families at BMT

Photo 2: “So, the NCOIC had questions about my EPR, but I was TDY at PME…”

3. At the end of leave, you’re more sad about shaving your beard/mustache than you are about going back to work.

Half-shaven Airman

Photo 3: We know—even if it’s just scruff from over the weekend.

4. You hear a coin drop and you panic.

Coin challenge

Photo 4: Challenge coins look impressive displayed in a case on your desk, but hopefully you also keep one in your pocket to save money (and avoid some humiliation) during a coin check.

5. You have 12 reflective belts stashed in your closet and/or desk.

Reflective belts for PT

Photo 5: As attractive as we think they are, it’s not necessary to wear more than one at a time.

6. You feel like you’re missing something when you’re not wearing a hat.

Uniform preparation

Photo 6: Admit it…you’ve even reached for your cover when you’re out of uniform.

7. You take your Professional Development Guide everywhere as your promotion test day draws near.

Professional development guide

Photo 7: You’re moving on up!

8. Years later, your military training instructor’s words still randomly pop into your mind.

Military training instructor

Photo 8: Was it the words of wisdom, or simply the volume?

9. During an argument or when correcting someone, you still use the “knife hand.”

Basic training instruction

Photo 9: You can tell someone was/is in the military when they correct their kids using the knife hand.

10. Friends from other services joke about the “Chair Force,” then tell you they wish they were Airmen.

Air Force Academy graduation

Photo 10: We’re glad WE are!

Can you think of some more? Comment below!

You know you’re in the Air Force when… v2

Air Force Public Affairs Agency Social Media Division

Editor’s note: We had so much fun with our first “You know you’re in the AF when..” post that we decided to create a second version. You guys chimed in on this one, so here’s the second set of humerous quirks unique to the Air Force and our military lives.

1.  When you hear a specific tapping sound as someone walks by…and nearly revert back into basic military training mode.


Photo 1: Military training instructors wear metal plates on the bottom of their shoes, known as taps. It was never good to hear that sound coming toward you.

2.  When asked where you were born, you answer with the name of the base. This also applies when you’re asked where you’re from.

LacklandPhoto 2:  Military members and military brats often struggle to explain where they are from due to frequent moves. It’s often easier to just say “everywhere”.

3.  When you get tired of telling people that the “Top Gun” movie is not about the Air Force.

Cleared for fright

 Photo 3:  Yes, the movie featured fighter jets. No, they weren’t ours. Can you think of movies that did feature the Air Force?

4.  You know your favorite MRE by number.

105th Airlit Wing Deploys Air Guardsmen to Support NY State Hurricane Relief Efforts

Photo 4:  Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, are numbered and military members quickly learn which numbers to fight for and which to avoid. It’s all about #5, Chicken Breast!

5.  You’ve become a master of “hurry up and wait.”


 Photo 5: Even though the Air Force is precise and organized….waiting happens. Often.

6. You know you’ve worked on the flight line when you hear the term JP-4 or JP-8, and you smell them from memory.

An Air Force fuel truck

 Photo 6: Ahhh..the smell of jet fuel in the morning.

7.  The sound of reveille still causes you to leap out of bed.

Airmen stand at attention for reveille

 Photo 7:  Reveille is the traditional song played while the flag is raised in the morning. In basic training, it is often accompained by the yells of MTIs ordering basic trainees out of bed to start their day.

8. You automatically check your gig line when you tuck in your shirt.

An MTI corrects a cadet's gig line.

 Photo 8: A gig line is an imaginary straight line which runs down the right-hand side of the shirt button flap through the base of the right side of the belt and down the right side of the fly of your pants.  Admit it…you just looked down to see if yours was straight.

9.  While completing paperwork, you fight the urge to draw your “X”s perfectly within the box.

Military writing

Photo 9: We dont’ know why this guy is wearing a hard hat, but we bet he is filling out his paperwork perfectly with that ruler.

10.  You’ve said or heard someone say  “back when I was in the Air Force…”

History of Air Force uniforms.Photo 10: Airmen often relate uniforms to certain times of their service. Someone might say: “back when we wore BDU’s, we ironed our uniforms and shined our shoes” or: “back in the brown shoe days…” 

Can you think of some more? Comment below!

Mrs. Welsh and Mrs. Cody Jan 21 tweetchat

By Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Social Media Division

In case you missed out on our Jan. 21 tweetchat with Mrs. Betty Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force spouse and Mrs. Athena Cody, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force spouse, you can catch up on the questions and answers below!

Q1: Why does it seem so difficult to get into a routine and break old habits?
A1: A1: It takes time & perseverance to change behaviors and establish new habits. On average–66 days! (cont) #BettyWelsh
A1 (cont): Start out with a reasonable goal– know that with time & patience you will create long-lasting change. #BettyWelsh

Q2: How do I get started on my 2014 Healthy Living goals?
A2: First, list your goals & then break them down into achievable steps. Engage your family & friends for support.

Q3: What resources have you found or tools to help you stay on track that you would like to share with us?
A3: We have great resources to support you as well—check http://www.usaffitfamily.com/home

Q4: @AFWSOWIFE asks what would be the No. 1 best new habit to get started on the most healthy lifestyle? #BettyWelsh
A4: .@AFWSOWIFE Healthy eating helps you feel better, have more energy, prevents major illnesses to include heart disease, high blood pressure.

Q5: @usairforce is there a program for civilians to get fit and enlist? #dreamjob #BettyWelsh
A5: @SafariBear1107 Ask local recruiting office for advice to meet your goals! Airforce.com has a list of recruiters. #BettyWelsh

Q6: For the tweetchat followers to answer! How many of you have set goals for this year, and what are they? #BettyWelsh

Q7: Can you live at home and still work in the Air Force day to day if you live in the region of the base? #BettyWelsh
A7: @FastTrack_Shaq: Contact your ANG or AFR office for opportunities to serve! See GoANG.com. #BettyWelsh

Q8: Do you have some stress reducing activities that you would like to share?
#BettyWelshA8: Stress by itself wears down our health and well-being. As military spouses we forget that saying NO is OK! (cont) #BettyWelsh
A8 (cont): We must take time for ourselves in order to take care of others. #BettyWelsh

Q9: @Kaboom_Krusader: What can the Air Force offer towards a culinary arts career? Is it a competitive field? #BettyWelsh
A9: The Air Force sends services personnel and enlisted aides to culinary training. #BettyWelsh

Q10: What is a good workout to help train for pararescue? #BettyWelsh
A10: Military.com outlines the requirements for passing the PJ fitness test & advice for prep for it. @Militarydotcom #BettyWelsh

Q11: @AFWSOWIFE: @AFYouthPrograms Any network for work out buddies to connect with in the DC area? #BettyWelsh
A11: Sorry we can’t endorse any networks. Please do a search for workout groups. #BettyWelsh

Q12: Who do I contact to run track while in the Air Force? #BettyWelsh
A12: Talk with a recuiter. For more information check out academyadmissions.com/admissions/. #BettyWelsh

Q13: If I transfer from another service, will my rank be reset? #BettyWelsh
A13: Check with an Air Force recruiter, and you can chat with one on airforce.com. #BettyWelsh

Q14: If doing ROTC, can someone be an astronaut? #BettyWelsh
A14: Yes, it’s a possibility if you’re on the right career path and meet the requirements. #BettyWelsh

Q15: #BettyWelsh Has being a military spouse helped your own ability to stay committed to health & fitness in any way?
A15: I think a few of the lessons I’ve learned about flexibility, resilience and knowing that taking care of others starts with taking care of myself has helped me stay connected tothe importance of healthy living.

Q16: How do you find time during your busy lives to exercise/eat healthy? Some days it’s so hard!

A16: You have to schedule it into your day, and stick to it – don’t change
that part of your schedule. The first month is always the toughest!
A16 contd: The Air Force is moving to 24-hour gyms to help us fit the gym into
our busy schedules. Now there’s no excuse! (followed by A1 tweets about 24
hour gyms).

Q17: How do you encourage your family/children to be active & fit?
A17: Lead by example! And set goals as a family…working together to
accomplish fitness goals can strengthen your family beyond the gym.

Stay tuned for our next chat!