Honoring the Air Force Family: Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- My experience as part of the military family spans three generations. As I consider the dedication and core values that all of our families bring, I am reminded that we have a lot to be proud of and we also serve as an example of excellence to others.

We are asked to accomplish and support many things during a military assignment and career; rising to the challenge and doing so with grace and integrity. Our Airmen, our families back home and our children depend upon our strength. We are essential to the military team but we also must step-up; dedicate our core values to one another and invest ourselves in the mission. These can be very tall orders for the military family yet it is also attainable if we continue to care for one another and I see evidence of it every day.

Relationships and families in our community are such a source of strength. Family doesn't just happen. It takes working together through challenges we face, remembering to respect and also to forgive. There are unique experiences ahead in a military family; learning new work centers, saying goodbye to hard-earned friends, living up to our successes, ideals and goals for the mission.

We all play a part in that process. Over time, we all will learn or have learned specifics of a military environment, endless acronyms and distinctive language that are characteristic to the military. Our leadership has blessed us with many tools and an array of programs at our fingertips.

Get out and take advantage of the many resources available to you here at Spangdahlem AB. Many of them are absolutely free! Sometimes all it requires is taking a deep breath, remaining steady and acting with integrity. How you handle life's challenges are the keys to becoming a stronger, resilient person and family. I can firmly and personally affirm that it is so worth it!
While serving around the world, the military family learns cultural diversity and is exposed to cultural wonders. Most folks will never have the chance to see artwork in Florence, Italy, Louvre in Paris, National Gallery in London or enjoy trips to beaches in Spain and many others.

Recently, at a stateside high school, my son told his senior class (as they were studying the Renaissance), that he had just been to Italy; enjoyed seeing Pisa, had traveled through Venice many times and had seen beautiful works of art in Naples. The class was amazed. Most students had never been out of the state. We are so very lucky as military families to be able to take part in these experiences, enrich our families and one another.

So, as we come to celebrate a holiday of thankfulness this week, take a moment to think about your own military family, and the integral role you play in making it work. Be thankful for what we have, and what we get to experience, as a part of the Air Force family.