From the Top: Telling the Story of America’s Citizen Airmen

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson

Citizen Airman/Apr. 2013 -- "Every Airman, regardless of specialty, must understand and be able to explain how they contribute to producing unparalleled airpower for our nation. Each Airman has a compelling story that needs to be told. Tell your story." -- A Vision for the United States Air Force (http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130110-114.pdf)

Since its beginnings in 1941, the Band of the Air Force Reserve has served as a goodwill ambassador, telling our story around the world. This issue of Citizen Airman is dedicated to the band's story: one of Emmy Award nominations, marching through Moscow's Red Square, and playing bagpipe music on St. Patrick's Day for our president and the prime minister of Ireland -- a superb story for more than 70 years.

Force structure actions and adjusting to fiscal realities are a challenge for all of us. Senior leaders, including myself, are engaged in the National Capitol Region. We are telling the Air Force and Air Force Reserve story, ensuring everyone understands the impacts on our people, the mission and our national defense. The Air Force Reserve story is about you -- your dedication, your achievements and your sacrifices as Citizen Airmen.

America, not just Capitol Hill, needs to hear from her Citizen Airmen. Your stories matter. They help illustrate what it means to live locally, yet serve globally. Your stories communicate how we are an effective combat force, particularly when the majority of us serve part time. Your stories describe our missions, how they traverse air, space and cyberspace, and what we bring to the joint fight.

We can all be goodwill ambassadors for our Air Force Reserve. You can explain your job, your unit and what it means to serve. You can convey how you keep a reserve-work-life balance between reserve duty, your employer and your personal life. Your local public affairs office can help tell your story.

Another resource is the Air Force Reserve Command website (www.afrc.af.mil) where you can download and show your community the "America's Citizen Airmen" video. You can also download the free book "Turning Point 9.11: Air Force Reserve in the 21st Century, 2001-2011" and share the remarkable stories of Air Force Reservists who answered the call after Sept. 11, 2001. How you have defended our nation with humility. How you have served with distinction. How you have made a difference. How you continue to do so today, in every part of the world.

Telling your Air Force Reserve story gives the complete Total Force picture and America the chance to say to her Citizen Airmen, "Thanks for all you do!"