Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany --
Representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars met with Airmen during a familiarization tour of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 7.
The VFW is a group of veterans that fights for rights and entitlements for uniformed service members. The organization was formed 115 years ago when veterans were forced to care for themselves after the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Brian Duffy, VFW junior vice commander-in-chief, and Robert Wallace, VFW executive director, visited Spangdahlem to better understand the mission and quality of life of the Spangdahlem community.
"We've been meeting with different Airmen," said Wallace. "As many as we could."
Wallace also said they discussed quality-of-life services provided at Spangdahlem for the Airmen and their families, as well as Airmen's concerns and what they see coming in the future.
This visit also allowed the VFW representatives to learn about issues veterans face today, and to advocate on their behalf to Congress.
"Spangdahlem has grown to be quite the jewel in the USAFE (U.S. Air Forces in Europe) crown," said Duffy.
Duffy was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base in 1978 as a jet engine mechanic, but he now acts as a VFW advocate for service members.
"I've been a member of the Spangdahlem Facebook page for quite a while, and it's been interesting to watch," said Duffy. "I wanted to come over to see it first hand, and what I saw was absolutely amazing."
Duffy and Wallace spoke with Airmen during their tour to learn what each individual does to support the mission, and how they enjoy community and family life in the military. Airmen also had the chance to share their thoughts and concerns about quality of life, veteran rights and the future of military entitlements.
"Their main focus for the visit was to advocate on Saber Nation's behalf on Capitol Hill about quality of life and veterans' benefits that were adversely affected by sequestration," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kalob Hinners, 52nd Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor. "The visit was not only a great way for Spangdahlem to showcase our capabilities, but a chance to show VFW Headquarters the potential the local VFW post can have in the community."
To Hinners, the visit was a success. "When visitors from VFW HQ and Capitol Hill visit and literally tell you at the end of the trip that they 'do not want to leave,' we as Saber Nation did our job!"
Prior to departing Spangdahlem, Duffy had one last message to share with the members of Saber Nation.
"You have all sorts of opportunities here at Spangdahlem that many other facilities may not be able to offer," Duffy said. "I think it is so important when you come here, that you look for the opportunities that are here outside of your professional military career and you continue to work to develop yourself and your leadership skills."
To learn more about the Veterans of Foreign Wars, visit http://www.vfw.org/