Tag Archives: wingmen

One million thank yous for one million fans

Airmen hugs his 20 month old daughter before deployment
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Airman 1st Class Krystal Tomlin
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The U.S. Air Force Facebook page recently reached one million likes. We, here at the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, are really excited about reaching this milestone. We’ve been counting down for weeks.

Why is this number so important to us? To tell you the truth, there isn’t much difference between 999,999 and 1,000,000. We aren’t celebrating our millionth fan — we’re celebrating our first fan, our hundredth fan, our millionth fan and everyone in between.

U.S. Airman participates in women's shura in Afghanistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an Air Force public affairs specialist, my job is to tell the Air Force story. I want to help every U.S. citizen understand our mission so they can make an educated decision about supporting us. I write stories about the wonderful things my fellow Airmen are doing. These stories help to put a face with the uniform that sacrifices for freedom. These stories also help servicemembers’ families understand the important work that takes their loved ones away from them. I tell the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll keep telling the Air Force story, because I believe in it.

I believe the Air Force plays a vital role in stifling global threats to freedom and human rights. I have no doubt most people in the Air Force are here to serve the public in an effort to make their communities and the world a better place. I believe the rebuilding efforts and the humanitarian missions we take part in are a reflection of those efforts.

Yokota Airmen deliver school supplies to Indonesian school

This is why one million fans is worth celebrating. It’s one million people who can see the Air Force through my eyes. One million people who are learning about the Airmen who attended a women’s shura in Afghanistan or provided school supplies for kids in Indonesia. More people will understand the resilient military kids and spouses who sacrifice in support of the men and women who love America and freedom so much they took an oath to defend the Constitution at all costs.

Thank you a million times. Thank each and every one of you for supporting my fellow Airmen every day. Thank you for telling our stories to your friends and family. Thank you for trusting us with your freedom.

Photo 1: U.S. Air Force Capt. James Salazar hugs his 20-month-old daughter, Elizabeth, prior to the 15th Airlift Squadron’s departure Aug. 27, 2008 at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. Captain Tarkowski is assigned to the 15th AS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Timothy Taylor)

Photo 2: Indonesian schoolchildren receive school supplies and sports equipment from Airmen during a goodwill visit to an elementary school in Binguang district, Indonesia, as part of Cope West 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Raymond Geoffroy)

Photo 3: First Lt. Emily Chilson interacts with the girls April 25, 2011, in Urgun, Afghanistan, during the first women’s shura. Lieutenant Chilson is the Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team public affairs officer and female engagement team member. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacia Zachary)

Re-blued

 By Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg
99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician

Being from Manhattan, Kan., an individual isn’t exposed to too terribly much. Cuisine was only as worldly as the Chinese/American buffet and entertainment rested in a dive bar or bowling alley. The one thing about this community, however, was the people. Being home to the students of Kansas State University and a great many of our soldiers from Fort Riley, the majority of the population’s faces were constantly changing. Human interaction and the life experiences heard from those soldiers and students broadened our worldly horizons.

Senior Airman StrombergAs I grew older, I was more informed and cognizant of the purpose of the military member. I loved hearing their stories and began to notice how those realities behind the tale developed their admirable character. I would watch those uniformed men and women at the local grocery store who always maintained an unwavering sense of purpose and seemed slightly more considerate of their loved ones who were with them. My eyes were opened when I realized this consideration came from the thought that the moment I had observed may have been due to this family seeing each other for one of the first or last times in the midst of a seemingly endless deployment season. I admired their sacrifice, their selflessness. To me, the uniform stood for a great many things. I hadn’t the foggiest idea what in the world occupational badges or rank insignias stood for. I just knew as an outsider looking in that the uniform stood for sacrifice. Sacrifice brought discipline and discipline brought pride and purpose. I enlisted in the United States Air Force at the earliest opportunity.

Because we are human, it is easy to fall into routine, to become complacent. However, one must always remember how they felt upon graduation from basic military training (BMT) when they received their Airman’s Coin. BMT pushes you, it brings you to hell and back but what emerges is a polished and refined individual who now sees the color of the flag in a brighter shade of red, white and blue. My advice is to always remember that moment, that character transition, and to remember that “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you.” You traded a day of your life to come into work and put on that uniform. Make it count. If you remember these things, with the aid of your wingmen and leadership, ANYTHING is attainable.

Quote by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944, D-Day.

Photo:U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg, a 99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, takes the blood pressure of Airman 1st Class Matthew Lancaster, a 99th Air Base Wing photographer, April 4, 2011, at Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Stromberg was recently named one of the Air Forces’ 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. The Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon is awarded to 12 enlisted Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements throughout the year. Air Force Association officials will honor the 12 recipients September 2011 during the Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Rubi)

Left behind

By Senior Airman Alexandria Mosness
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

A 4-year old girl with shoulder-length, light-brown hair and big brown eyes sat on the edge of the countertop with her legs dangling over the side, swinging back and forth. A strong man three times her size with hardworking hands touched her gently, and looked at her with tears streaming down his weathered face. “Mommy is not coming back. Mommy is in heaven with Grandpa,” he told her as his voice cracked. The brave little girl reached her tiny hand up to his sad face and wiped away his tears, as she said, “Don’t worry Daddy, it will be okay.”

But it was not okay; her mother, my aunt, had committed suicide only days earlier.Suicide prevention

Everyone has heard about suicide, but many people may not think it will affect them. But I guarantee if you ask around, it hits closer to home than you might think.

Yet, we still believe it won’t be someone we love. I didn’t think I would ever hear the news that my aunt Maria, who was only in her mid-30s, would take her own life.

I was a freshman in high school when I turned around at lunch one day with a smile still fresh on my face from a joke I overhead, when I saw my father’s pain-stricken face. I knew right then something was very wrong.

From then on the moments are a blur. When I look back, all I sense is a heavy dread and pain, a pain that tears deeply each time I look at my little cousin Olivia. Although Maria committed suicide about 8 years ago, it still breaks my heart to think about the life she missed out on.

She, like many people who commit suicide, dealt with depression. The one thing I wish I could have shown her was her funeral and all the people who sat in the pews crying. I wish she would have been able to see her 4-year-old daughter walk down the aisle of the big church, side-by-side with the coffin, and lay a rose on top of her mother’s lifeless body. I wish she would have felt the love of those who cared for her dearly, and those that might have been able to pull her off of that edge.

But my wishes are just that… wishes.

What I don’t want is for you to be the one wishing. Once a loved one takes his or her life, we have no control. We are the survivors, and we are the ones who must keep going.

From the time I began high school and throughout my military career, I have been inundated with computer-based training modules, classes and countless Airmen days on the topic of suicide.

But even with all of this knowledge and available resources, the Air Force battles this issue. Some might not think it can happen to them or someone they know,

So, what can we do to help those in need?

Many may think it is cliché, but I always smile at everyone. I always think especially since I am a survivor, what if that one act brings them back. Maybe it is not that simple, but kindness does go a long way.

We are always told to be good wingmen. This goes hand-in-hand with improving our resiliency. When you see your co-worker down or acting different, pull him or her aside. See what is wrong. A lot of times, all people need is someone to talk to.

If someone comes and tells you of a plan to hurt him or herself, don’t laugh it off. The person is reaching out to you. Listen and then help find the assistance he or she may need.

Social media is huge these days. We may take what our friends say online as a joke or not take them seriously, but if you start noticing a trend or something that makes you raise your eyebrows, do something about it. Heck, it might not be anything, but how would you feel if you found out later that person had harmed him or herselves? You truly can save lives.

There will always be challenges in this world, but if we all take that extra step and treat people like valued human-beings, maybe we can stop losing our Air Force family to this dreadful thing.

I know that if we had seen the warning signs, my little cousin would not be walking around on Easter grasping a picture of her mother because she missed her, but instead holding her hand and celebrating the joyous moments in life.

Photo: (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Corey Hook)