Commentary Search

Bloom where you are planted!

  • Published
  • By Col. Lawrence Martin
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander

We're seeing a lot of new faces around MacDill AFB this month. And they aren't our annual migration of fam campers. It's June, and our military PCS season is cranking up to bring us new folks in all areas of the base. Look around you -- in your squadron, in your unit, in your command. How many new faces do you see? And, most importantly, what do you do? Hopefully you're one of those friendly faces who make a positive difference in how our new people perceive their new home...

Julia and I are often asked two things by our civilian friends. How many times have you moved (12 and counting), and how do you make these moves work? The simple truth is, we military folk thrive wherever we go; we bloom wherever we get planted because the "soil," our environment, our community, helps us make these difficult transitions easier. 

In our family, we call it making lemonade from lemons. Wherever we move, we look for the sweet instead of the sour. In Hawaii, we were far from friends and family; however, we discovered rainbows and ocean runs.

 In Kansas, although the winters were desolate, we found wonderful neighbors and friends (ones we still keep in touch with)! Last year when I was on a remote, we all made lemonade (we just had to work a little harder). Julia and the
boys moved back to her home to be close to her family, but she found a new military family, too, as the people of Little Rock Air Force Base adopted them. Meanwhile, I
had the opportunity to help build a base, to lead phenomenal Airmen, and to fly. 

We all depend upon our military friends to make moves work. We call friends who've lived where we are going to find out about neighborhoods, schools and commute times. We rely on sponsors we've never met to help us secure lodging, find rentals, deliver hot meals and watch Fluffy and Fido. 

Due to the nature of our transient lives, we only rarely get to return any favors directly to the giver; instead, we step up to help other military families and do for them just what has been done for us. We do this so often for each other, we never think twice about the "effort," nor do we find what we do unusual. On the more formal end, we also have some great resources to make transitions smoother. We have information at our base website ( and at our Airman and Family Readiness Centers (located on MacDill AFB 813-828-0145 and in Brandon 813- 655-9281) on reintegration; financial management; planning your move; finding employment, homes and schools, and generally getting settled in Tampa Bay.

 What makes your move and new home good or bad? You do. Bloom where you are planted. The soil is especially good right here. Those who came before us have cultivated it well by giving to the local communities, by retiring here, by enriching the lives of others. We have a responsibility to sow even more seeds of friendship and create truly sweet lemonade.... right here. It WILL make a difference - in your life and in the life of someone else.