The enlisted perspective: Air Force Families

WASHINGTON -- Some lasting memories I will always cherish from my Air Force career are the tarmac reunions of loved ones and our returning Airmen warriors. Witnessing spouses, parents and children with tears of joy running down their cheeks simply leaves one speechless and reminds us what is truly important in life. Those who sit on the other side of the dining room table from us, our Air Force families, are an essential element of our Air Force and we owe them a great debt of gratitude.

     Our nation is at war. During this critical time, our Airmen are accomplishing incredible feats in the Global War on Terror fight. We are busy, both our deploying Airmen and those Airmen left behind to carry on the home station mission.

     We all know being part of a military family isn't easy. From frequent moves and unpredictable duty schedules, to missed birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, we ask a lot of our families. Their willingness to stand strong in the face of these demands is vital to our success and inspires us to achieve greater things - to go the extra mile.

     We would like for things to become easier. The reality is, we continue fighting terrorism and defending freedom. Our nation and our way of life depend on completing these important missions. For victory, we will need our families to stand beside us and provide the confidence, love and unwavering support necessary to finish the tasks that lie ahead of us.

     November is National Military Family Month, a time we set aside to honor our spouses, children, and parents for providing the rock-solid foundation on which our great Air Force has stood for more than six decades. Serving our nation takes desire, dedication and determination. We see these qualities everyday in our Airmen and their families. Our families then go above and beyond and provide inspiration, comfort and support. We should all take the time to recognize our family's selfless sacrifice and offer our heartfelt thanks.

     So I ask this of all Airmen - be there for your family. Take the extra time to attend your son or daughter's sporting event, school play or parent and teacher night. Get home on time when you can and enjoy some family fun time. Contact your parents and let them know how you are doing. Be there for your family, because they have been there for you.