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From the Top: A Sense of Belonging

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson and his family.

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson and his family.

Citizen Airman/Dec. 2014 -- As this holiday season approaches, Barb and I want you to know we appreciate your service.  This year has been challenging, but you answered the nation's call without fail. This holiday season is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with friends and loved ones, but for some it may be a challenging time. Use this time to strengthen our wingman culture and reflect on the importance of what you do for our nation.

Both Barb and I value the sense of community and belonging we have in our Air Force Reserve. This sense of belonging, or wingman culture, is one of the best things about serving. Our Air Force family includes our men and women in uniform, civilian employees, contractors and the families that support them. We understand a sense of belonging is critical, not only for service members but for their families as well. Together we are stronger. 

It is easy to forget that some of us may not be able to spend the holidays with family and friends this year. For those far away from loved ones or for those who are alone this season, the holidays may be a very difficult time of year. I want you to know you are not alone. Use this time to connect with friends and co-workers, and I challenge those surrounded by family and friends to reach out to those who may not be as fortunate. Leverage your Air Force family.

One of the ways to get connected is through our Key Spouse Program. The Key Spouse program encourages peer-to-peer wingman support and provides an opportunity for spouses and families to build relationships with each other throughout the year. In partnership with your leadership, key spouses provide a critical link to strengthen our community. By reaching out and staying connected, we create stronger bonds within our Reserve family. These types of programs increase our resiliency. I encourage you to read the article that begins on Page 14 in this issue of Citizen Airman to learn more about the Key Spouse Program and to contact your local Airman and Family Readiness Center for volunteer opportunities.   

Together we comprise the most capable and professional Air Force in the world, and you are an immensely important part of that team. The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on our wingman culture and strengthen the bonds that make us a great Reserve force. Enjoy the season and take time to say thank you to those who support you as you continue to serve. Thanks for all you do!