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Care for Airmen, their families one of mission objectives

  • Published
  • By Maj. Martin T. Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Staff Judge Advocate
"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have past at home in the bosom of my family.... public employment contributes neither to advantage nor happiness. It is but honorable exile from one's family and affairs."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1790

Because this commentary will be published on the day before Valentine's Day, I wanted to address the importance to our Wing's mission for you to dedicate time to care for your loved ones. Our new vision, mission, and objectives includes as one of the three prime objectives, "Develop and Care for our Airman and Families". Like any of the Wing's objectives, overall targets can be set at the highest level but accomplishment of the goal is only possible when each of us personally devotes the time and resources to its accomplishment.
This will be a busy year for the Wing. Along with our daily tasks and missions, we have already provided support to Superbowl XLIII, Gasparilla, 6S week and had a combined Generation and Emergency Management exercise. We will continue on this path of mission success through several months of exercises, Phoenix Rally and culminating in the UCI. 

While all this excitement is taking place in the work center, it may be easy to postpone that family outing, the phone call to your parents or that fishing trip with your best friend. This is why it is all the more important to schedule and prioritize time with your family and friends and to avail yourself of the many opportunities on base and off. 

There will be times when an immediate mission necessity will require you to miss an important family event. In 2008 alone, I was not present for my first Father's Day with my son, missed my daughter's princess birthday party at Walt Disney World and needed to reschedule several date nights with my wife. Although it was always a mission necessity to be away from my family for each of these events, it cut me to the quick when I saw my daughter a few days after her birthday, gave her an additional "guilt" gift, and she said "Oh, Daddy you did remember." 

Your family and friends are the cornerstone of your success and happiness. They deserve to be a priority. You earn 30 days of leave a year, use them wisely; consider how you spend them to be an investment in your friends & family bank account. Most of us have participated in squadron team-building events. Why not have a family or friends team-building event? Of course, you don't need to call it that. But a trip to Ft DeSoto beach with family or gathering your friends together for a Madden 09 tournament serves similar goals and purposes: strengthening bonds, rebuilding healthy relationships. 

This not an empty objective of words without support. The Air Force and the Wing have invested significant time, money and resources to support you and your family and friends. The youth center, chapel, library, bowling center, outdoor recreation and clubs are just a few of the organizations on base that have programs to promote healthy relationships. Do not delay, take some time today to schedule time with your family and friends. It may be something as simple as devoting time to read an additional book to your child, calling your mom (or maybe even your mother-in-law to thank her for your wonderful spouse); or it may be getting your best friend to go to today's Valentine Day skeet shoot; planning to attend the Gasparilla buffet at Seascapes or booking a family get away through ITT. Take the time, prioritize and organize, recharge your batteries and renew those relationships. Just don't call me today because for once I have followed my own advice and my wife and I are on a week long vacation. And a big thank you to Grandma and Auntie Sue for watching the kids!