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The importance of the military family

  • Published
  • By Maj. John Dines
  • 90th Communications Squadron commander

Having been raised in the home of a Navy chief petty officer and dragged around the globe from Virginia to Maine to Maryland to Guam to Tennessee by the time I was seven and having been around the globe throughout my 13 year military career, I have found that no matter where in the world you may reside, having your family there to support you is the most valuable thing that military members can have throughout their careers.

Although most military families come from differing areas with differing backgrounds and cultures, military families typically have a number of experiences in common. A form of commonality can come in the form of having to move from place to place and country to country; the family shares in the excitement of going on the new adventure. As a military brat, I found it very difficult to always have to pack up my toys and leave my friends, but my mom and dad always prepared us to handle the new environment, whether it was new toys or by having an adventure during the moving process. As an active duty member, my wife and I have made it a point to try to involve ourselves in community events immediately, in order to gain an appreciation for the new adventure at hand.

While most family members did not swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States like that of the military member, they have selflessly dedicated themselves toward the development and success of their spouses as members of the U.S. Air Force. As a result, each and every one of them deserves to be a priority in the lives of the Airmen as well as to the Air Force as a whole. Without the support of the military family, I find it would be nearly impossible to be in a right state of mind to allow an individual to focus on mission accomplishment when the call comes.

As an example, an Airman can always be called to deploy, but if that member is having trouble (financial, marital, etc.) on the home front, the Airman will undoubtedly find it more difficult to ensure their job performance on the front lines is the best it can possibly be. As a result, the lack of focus could be placing the lives of their coworkers as well as their own life at risk.

This is not to say that only a military member with a spouse needs to focus on their family. Family is what you make of it. Family does not have to be limited to the nuclear family. A family can possibly consist of your military family or other forms of wingmen. A family can be whatever support structure is available that helps a member maintain personal stability in a stressful and demanding environment. By ensuring the family is a focus in the life of the military member, that family will be prepared to maintain the home front and support the military member when the time comes for the mission to demand more of them.

I'd like to close with a quote from Suzie Schwartz and Paula Roy that reflects my thoughts exactly, "Thank you for your service, sacrifice and support - as always, we wish you and your families the very best!"