Commentary Search


  • KC-135 legacy bonds father and sons

    In October 1982, my father, Peter J. Smith, enlisted in the Air Force and became an air traffic controller. By this time in history, the KC-135 Stratotanker was nearing its 30th year in the fleet, and by the end of his Air Force career, the tanker would be nearing its 50th anniversary.
  • COMMENTARY: Three generations of flying the KC-135

    The military version of the Boeing 707, known as the KC-135 has had many versions and upgrades since it first came off the manufacturing line 60 years ago.
  • COMMENTARY: Back to school shopping on an NCO’s budget

    It is time for school again, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means the lazy days of summer are sadly behind us. Instead of sleeping late and arguing about who gets the last Klondike bar, kids in kindergarten through high school will be making the daily commute, on foot or otherwise, to their particular educational facility.
  • I do more than point and shoot

    It has been about a year since I found myself fresh out of tech school and stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida as a public affairs photojournalist. I remember when I first got here, eager and excited.
  • Don’t walk off a cliff while chasing a Charmeleon

    It has recently been brought to my attention that wild animals have been seen roaming the grounds of MacDill. Fortunately, these alarming reports also mentioned how the Airmen stationed on base have been tracking and capturing these feral creatures. However, what came as an even more surprising revelation is that these Airmen were spending their
  • Lightning Struck Twice

    When I first arrived in Tampa in the summer of 1996…I could scarcely believe my good fortune. MacDill Air Force base was a “dream” assignment, in the best of locations, and I was a young aircraft commander flying the KC-135R around the world assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron – the Bolts.
  • Reversing roles: military spouse to military member

    "It's only two months, I'll be fine. It's such a short time, no need to cry," I kept telling myself over and over again.I put on a brave face and kept my emotions in check as I gave my fiancé, Landon, one last hug and kiss before he went through airport security to fly out to Air Force basic military training (BMT).That strong face melted away the
  • Honoring those who served

    I've been asked multiple times "How do you present a flag and not get emotional," and my response is the same every time "It's not about me, it's about the family."July 9, 2015, was my first day as a member of the MacDill Air Force Base Honor Guard. I was both excited and nervous to experience the Air Force from a different perspective. I knew I
  • Is blood thicker than water?

    "Blood is thicker than water," I grew up hearing this all my life in reference to family.What exactly does this mean?For me it means that your biological relatives are going to be there for you no matter what, but in my life I have realized that blood is just something that runs through your veins. It doesn't constitute who you can count on in time
  • Cautious to confident

    I remember one day in seventh grade, my teacher changed the seating chart. The girl next to me, who I had other classes with before, leaned over and whispered, "are you new?"Of course I was aware of how quiet and painstakingly shy I was. I never raised my hand to answer a question, and people would often talk over me because, I guess, they just