Seven reasons why I appreciate being Air Force Blue|
Posted 9/16/2010 Updated 9/16/2010
Commentary by Master Sgt. Tanya Preisch
99th Airlift Squadron first sergeant
9/16/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- This year it seems all my peers are retiring. They keep telling me how great it is to finally "punch out." It has me reflecting on my journey in the Air Force and I've got to say, I love being an Airman. I can give you at least seven reasons why I appreciate being Air Force Blue.
7. Family. I can't imagine any other career in the world that supports my family as much as the Air Force. Our daughters have given up sleep, lived through Mom being away for an extended period of time, and deciphered weird acronyms during dinnertime. But in return, the Air Force gives us "Family Days" and squadron parties. Most important to me, my unit supports time off to stay home with a sick child with the 24-hour flu.
6. College student travel. I was stationed in Germany and my firstborn graduated from high school. The military put her on orders and sent her to college along with 250 lbs of her household goods. If that wasn't enough, the Air Force also funded one round-trip visit per fiscal year so that she could visit during Christmas or the summertime.
5. Opportunity. While in Minot, I toured a missile silo. In Korea, I visited the de-militerized zone. During my deployment to Kuwait, I boarded a C-130 Gunship. And probably one of the coolest adventures, I rode on the wing of a U-2 as it taxied down the runway!
4. Personal Trainers. Some people call them Physical Training Leaders (PTLs), but to me, they are my personal trainers. It's no secret I love cake - I consider promotion ceremony cake to be one of my Air Force benefits. So I really need my weekly PT sessions. I may complain about sore muscles, but I appreciate that circuit training. On the outside, I'd be paying them $50 an hour for them to kick my butt.
3. Kid Rock. I saw Kid Rock totally rock out Hanger 1 at Ramstein AB. The USO sponsored him on a tour overseas for all servicemembers. It had been an unusually difficult week for me and watching this unbelievable show lifted my mood more than any beer could have. I've appreciated all the USO sponsored events while overseas.
2. Experience. When I started out in the Air Force, a wide-eyed 21-year-old, I had a guaranteed job as a computer operator. At the time, I was a young stay-at-home mom and had no idea that my future would be so diverse. In one Air Force Specialty Code, I worked on mainframe systems, purchased and distributed computer systems in automatic data processing equipment, issued communication security material for classified missions, managed e-mail accounts, maintained base networks, and then defended the network with intrusion detection tools.
1. Wingmen. If anything, this is the reason my husband and I stay in service. There's a sense of belonging in the Air Force that I don't believe any other job has. We know we have fellow Airmen throughout the world who stand by us when we need them.
So for these few of the things I say, "Thank you Uncle Sam." Each day I find another reason to enjoy coming to work and being part of this great Air Force. I encourage everyone to reflect on what they appreciate about their service. Chances are the achievements outweigh the struggles. I still look forward to my retirement cake, but until then I'm going to keep enjoying the ride!