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Air Force family

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Lately, there has been lot of focus on social media and water cooler discussions on what the Air Force gets wrong, and how hard the Air Force lifestyle can be.

In no way do I disagree with these discussions, and I will be the first to advocate that people should do what is best for them and their family—however, there is not a lot of discussion of the positives. It got me thinking about why my family just completed yet another permeant change of station in a long line of PCSs.

Last weekend while watching a group of Airmen assist a new squadron member move into her house, it hit me that the Air Force community is different. It is a way of life in which co-workers become friends, and those friends become family. You see, the arduous task of helping someone move into their house is a task that is usually reserved for friends, but nearly half of the unit showed up to assist a new co-worker move, just because she needed help.

I thought back to hard times my family and I have had in my career. I thought about how our Air Force family had surrounded my wife, Jessica, with support and love while I was deployed, and she was taking care of a newborn 2,500 miles away from her family. I thought about the time we told those same people about hard times we were dealing with, and instead of only expressing sympathy, they were on the next plane.

The relationships developed through all the moves in the Air Force provided my family with an unwavering network that enables us to manage any hardships we face and to come out the other side stronger. However, what I appreciate the most is that the Air Force challenges me to do things simply because it’s the right thing to do.

The Air Force has allowed me to be there for others when they were in their time of need. The Air Force sent me with a half-a-million-pound aircraft, to the other side of the world, for an aeromedical evacuation of a one pound baby that was born four months too early.

The doctors said there was almost no chance that the baby would live, but there was a military family that needed help, and that day we were able to make it happen. That baby is alive today not because it was the economically feasible thing to do, or because the family was rich, but because it was the right thing to do.

The main reason I am still around is because, despite all its flaws, the Air Force gets some things very right. That baby is alive today, and that family is whole. My family has overcome many trials thanks to assistance of the countless selfless Airman.

I am not saying that the Air Force will always be the answer for my family, one day we will move, the next chapter of our lives like all Airman do, but when that time comes it will have been an amazing ride.