Mission success hinged on strong Airmen, families

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - -- Choosing life as a civilian versus life as a uniformed military member can be a daunting task at the ripe young age of 18. What solidified my decision to join the Air Force? The level of support the Air Force provides for service members and their families.

After my arrival to Vandenberg in July, it did not take long for me to notice a commonality visible in every building on base; posters are displayed in almost every building with the wing commander's mission, vision and priorities.

Of the three priorities, "Strong Airmen and families" remain the backbone of all operations.

As the public affairs officer for the 30th Space Wing, I quickly learned to throw-away my vision of working the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, job. Life, Mother Nature and news don't stop just because I take off my uniform at the end of the duty day.

Accountability recalls and other unexpected events tend to throw curveballs into my schedule. To be honest, I initially hated the unpredictable nature of my job, but after taking a step back and opening my eyes to what was going on around me, I was quickly humbled. Airmen with young children, some with the help of a spouse and some without, were responding to the same exact phone call I received and they are right there beside me reporting for duty.

There is an incredible dance that happens between the military family and the organization. The organization provides tools to assist the family during deployments, recalls and other "curve balls." The family then leans on their own training and each other to support the organization. I am amazed at the strength Vandenberg families show and their eagerness to support the Air Force mission. It's that level of dedication from each Air Force family here that keeps rockets launching, space vehicles landing, trucks rolling, medical groups open and all other levels of mission success.

Support for military members and their families aren't limited to inside Vandenberg's gates. My husband and I are currently in the process of filing for a join-spouse assignment and we have come to find that assignments for an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot and a public affairs officer don't always match up perfectly. With that being said, our Air Force Specialty Code functionalists at the Air Force Personnel Center located at Randolph AFB, Texas have done everything they can to set us up for success in the future. Despite my limited interaction with these officers, the extra emails and the extra phone calls show us they care about our future as a family as well.

Behind every strong Airman is a strong family. In my opinion, the person that wears the uniform is not the only person that serves. Husbands, wives, children, moms and dads all over the world serve right alongside their Airman. In my short stent as an officer, it is comforting to know that when the day comes for my husband and I to start a family, the strength, health and welfare of my family is cared for and supported by the world's greatest Air Force!