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Chief’s View: Thank those who make your service possible

Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen R. Buckner

Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen R. Buckner

Citizen Airman/Oct. 2012 -- As Citizen Airmen, we face many challenges: ensuring our family members are happy and healthy, and their needs are met; maintaining our commitment to be combat-ready 24/7; and ensuring our civilian career is on track. As we do our best in each of these areas, we are pulled in so many different directions that we can lose sight of the big picture and the important things in life. Remember that one day our uniform will come off and we WILL retire. Take care of the ones you love, and remember to say "thank you" for their support.

As Citizen Airmen, we also understand the importance of having the support of our civilian employers in the private and government sectors. They, too, make sacrifices so that we can maintain the balance, and without them our ability to be Citizen Airmen would not be possible. Don't miss the opportunity to thank them for their understanding, contribution and support.

It takes our individual support systems and our own personal commitment, strength, pride and courage to be combat-ready Airmen 24/7. Every time I am out on the road, I hear how difficult it is to maintain technical proficiency when all your time seems to be wrapped up accomplishing ancillary training, professional military education, immunizations, physicals, dental exams, tier two training, career development courses and fitness testing. I hear it, I live it, and I get it.

Ancillary training plays a critical role in every individual's preparedness and ability to help each other in both war and peacetime; makes us stronger warriors, leaders and allies; and, when combined with appropriate PME, prepares us in critical ways our technical training cannot. As I say that, I also want to assure you that your senior leadership is working to find ways to increase the amount of "hands-on" work time that you get during unit training assemblies and annual tours and keep the additive ancillary training requirements to a minimum.

The strength of the Air Force Reserve will forever be our members and the three-legged stool of family, military and civilian employment. This is a concept/relationship we've all heard preached many times. My friend and mentor Chief Master Sgt. Karen Krause commented the other day that we do not and could not do this job on our own. She also reminded me that I had "better be practicing what I am preaching."

So, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who ARE combat ready and thank you to all of the "support staff." Help and support come from many directions so that we can enjoy the privilege of wearing this uniform, reaching our goals and contributing to our nation as only Citizen Airmen can. You, your family and civilian employers are making daily sacrifices. It is noticeable and greatly appreciated. Thank you!