Tag Archives: travel

Flying Space-A

By Staff Sgt. Antonio Gonzalez
Air Force Social Media Team

Don’t think you can afford that vacation you’ve been planning? Well think again because as a member of the Air Force you qualify for a unique benefit that can provide you with some inexpensive airfare– Space-Available travel or Space-A.

You can fly Space-A between Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard facilities around the world at virtually no to little cost. But before you fly, you must register at the terminal you plan to fly from. You can do this in person, online, by phone or by e-mail. Here’s a link with every Air Mobility Command Terminal’s contact information:  http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150629-014.pdf.

When you register for a flight, you get assigned to a passenger category that designates your place in line for a seat. Category seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Knowing which travel category you fall under and what that means for your chances of getting a seat can help relieve some stress.

Category 1:

First priority goes to active-duty service members and dependents on unfunded emergency leave. These people need to get back to the States as quickly as possible to handle an emergency situation, so they’ll get the first seats available.

Category 2:

For all those active-duty service members on environmental morale leave from adverse overseas locations or deployments, you fall under Category 2.

Category 3:

This is the category that most people fall under when taking a vacation. Category 3 is for active-duty service members and their dependents on ordinary leave status or house hunting status in conjunction with a permanent change of station or PCS. Family members may travel unaccompanied in this category when their sponsor has been deployed for more than 365 days.

Category 4:

If an active duty member is deployed over 120 days and stationed in an adverse overseas location, their command sponsored dependents may take a break from their overseas duty location and travel Space-A under this category.

Category 5:

This category is for unaccompanied active-duty dependents and active duty service members on permissive TDY.

Category 6:

If you’re a military retiree, reservists, National Guard Member or ROTC Cadet, this category is for you.

Now that you know what category you fall under, you must ensure your travel documents are in order. This includes your leave paperwork, valid Uniformed Services ID, passport/visa or other documents required by the location you are traveling to or from. In many cases this will be different for each traveler depending on your status. Please contact your departure passenger terminal for documentation requirements or travel restrictions.

Also, when checking in at the terminal to mark yourself present, ensure you do not exceed baggage weight limits and that you are not traveling with any prohibited items. Here is the list of prohibited items: http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/prohibitedtravelitems.asp.

Then simply await your Space-A call and follow instructions given to you by the passenger service agents.

Here is some addition useful information on Space-Available travel:

–Air Mobility Command Official Website – Space-Available Travel Information:

http://www.amc.af.mil/amctravel/

–Space-A Travel Handbook:

http://1.usa.gov/1Rqytj0

Safe travels!

If you’ve traveled on Space-A, tell us about your experience. Where did you travel? Share your tips for this type of travel in the comments.

Military installations off the beaten path

By Staff Sgt. Antonio Gonzalez
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

When you sign up to join the Air Force, you’re not only agreeing to put service before self, but also to put location before self. Sometimes you’ll find yourself stationed far away from friends and family. On other occasions, you’ll receive orders to serve at  remote locations for one year or more. While some remote bases are relatively close to civilization, these four military installations are located in the some of the most obscure areas in the world.

1. Thule Air Base, Greenland

Ceremonial Guardsmen from the Top of the World Honor Guard present the American, Canadian, Danish and Greenlandic flags prior to the Memorial Day Array-to-the-Bay Relay Run hosted by the 12th Space Warning Squadron here May 25. The run was held to honor Airman 1st Class Matthew Seidler and Capt. David Lyon, two fallen service members from the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Courtesy photo by Torben Bjerre/Released)
Ceremonial Guardsmen from the Top of the World Honor Guard present the American, Canadian, Danish and Greenlandic flags prior to the Memorial Day Array-to-the-Bay Relay Run. The run was held to honor Airman 1st Class Matthew Seidler and Capt. David Lyon, two fallen service members from the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Courtesy photo by Torben Bjerre/Released)

Located 947 miles from the North Pole, Thule AB, Greenland is the Air Force’s northernmost installation. Contrary to popular belief, Thule AB is still operational, and is home to the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Space Command. Continue reading Military installations off the beaten path

My mother: the perfect military wife

By Jenna Stone

Editor’s note: In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day today and Mother’s Day on Sunday, we’re sharing a post from a friend of an Air Force Social Media Team member. The writer is the wife of an Air Force Reserve Airman at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

My dad proposed to my mom outside of the barracks on Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, following his graduation from Basic Military Training. It was a simple proposal, but to my mom it was a fairytale. Eight months later, Mark and Rose Mary were married in a small Catholic ceremony. My dad, in his stark and stunning dress blues, swept my mom off her feet. Her life would now be vastly different. She was now an Air Force wife.

Families eagerly await the return of their Airmen.

My mother knew nothing about the military lifestyle when she married my dad. She had lived most of her life up until then in the same house. Her family was well-known in their small, rural community. All of her friends and family were just minutes away, but after her first move to Big Spring, Texas, it seemed like they were lifetimes away.

Having your first baby is a huge life moment. Many people would not be able to imagine what it would be like to give birth to your first born while your husband is out of town. For many military wives, this is reality. My dad didn’t meet his first child until he was 1-month-old. Luckily, he was present for the birth of his second son, but only because he was on leave for two weeks from his one-year remote tour in Alaska. When my brother was only one-week-old, my dad had to say goodbye to his wife and two young sons once again. He would return after six more months in the frigid cold of Fairbanks, Alaska. During these times when my dad was away, my parents did their best to communicate. They wrote letters and sent a few pictures. They were even able to talk on the phone but not often and not for too long. It was the late 1970s, and long-distance phone calls were expensive.

Like most military wives, my mom is an excellent packer. Every few years she packed up her little family and everything they owned, and she followed my dad wherever he was sent. She didn’t like some of the places they lived. New Hampshire was too cold, and Big Spring was too far west. But the most difficult move was to England. I was born just a few months before the big overseas move. Living in a completely different country with two toddlers and a brand new baby can be overwhelming. My mother has said that the worst part was that she couldn’t see her family back in the states for three long years. Flying a family of five over the Atlantic Ocean was very expensive, so we stayed in England for the duration of the assignment. My parents wrote letters and sent home videos so my grandparents could watch us grow.

Even through constant moving and being away from her spouse was difficult, my mother embraced the military lifestyle. Our family lived on base everywhere we were stationed. My mom worked really hard to make our little duplex a loving home. She registered us for all kinds of activities on base. We went to the bowling alley every Saturday morning and the commissary every other week. We did summer camp at the youth center every year. My brothers and I had our own pool passes, and we were even allowed to ride our bikes to the pool after we got our IDs. Growing up on base was perfect.

Now that I am a military wife, I have so much more respect for my mom. She endured months of raising three young kids without her husband. She spent years away from her family without Skype or Face Time to communicate. She lived in all kinds of different places and had to leave old friends and learn to make new ones. And I never once heard her complain about it.

There is a special place in Heaven for military spouses. These people must move away from friends and family every few years, and sometimes adapt to new cultures. If they work outside of the home, they are forced to find a new job every three years. Many holidays and birthdays are spent alone while waiting for their spouse to return from TDY or deployment. Sometimes they can’t even watch the news out of fear of hearing about the troops in danger. Military spouses are strong, adaptable and above all, devoted to their family.

PHOTO: Families line the runway to welcome home members of the 389th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit. The unit returned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Sept. 21, 2011, after a deployment to Afghanistan.