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Giving credit to our families as our greatest Wingman

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- We are already rolling into December--the year has just flown by.

When I reflect on my achievements for this year and my goals for next--I can't help but think about my family and the support they have given me. Looking at the sacrifices we have to make as military members--the moves, the hours, and deployments, I realize that it isn't only me; it is my family who has had to put the Air Force ahead of themselves.

I recently went TDY to a federal medicine conference and I learned a lot about the issues and challenges faced by all our services and veterans.

The miracles in medicine, particularly in aero medical evacuation have improved survivability to rates many never contemplated. However, the injuries sustained are life altering: loss of limb and traumatic brain injuries require significant rehabilitation and medical care.

Many of the caregivers themselves are suffering from post traumatic stress from their experiences. We know Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen are selfless; we join, knowing we may have to make that ultimate sacrifice. However, when we get caught up in the day-to-day administration we sometimes lose sight that we are a part of something much greater then ourselves.

Occasionally we need to pause and reflect why we are here, what our current impact is, and what might be asked of us in the future.

With all of that said, I look at my family. I look at how they stay here when I get to go to Salt Lake City for a conference, how they are home when I am working late, and what they will have to do if I deploy as they stay behind and worry about my safety.

I think we focus a lot on the selflessness of the military member--and rightfully so ... however, I want to take a second and thank our families for their selflessness through it all. Think about the wife whose husband has to go through extensive rehabilitation--isn't her life significantly altered, as well?

The husband whose wife is suffering long term effects from her experiences at her deployed location, isn't his devotion to her wellness and contribution to his nation selfless?

Wingman Day is upon us--with the winter here and the holidays ahead--let's keep a keen eye out on each other. Let's also keep our wingman at home in mind.

I know after a tough week we want to do something "all about us" on the weekend--but realize that it is our family who has been there supporting us, working hard too, and whether they ask or not, they deserve support as well.

While we go to work and interact with our peers, bosses and subordinates, many of our spouses are home with children all day--they may need a break too, perhaps a nice dinner out or a weekend trip to the hot springs.

We need to look out for our Wingmen at work and at home because many of those same stresses impact us all. I don't think we can ever show enough appreciation for what they do--but we can definitely try. Have a wonderful holiday season.