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Families provide critical support for mission success

Col. Patrick J. Cobb
102nd Intelligence Wing Commander

Col. Patrick J. Cobb 102nd Intelligence Wing Commander

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- During the September Unit Training Assembly (UTA) weekend we will pause to celebrate our families and the critical role they play in our success. Even though many of our family members do not wear the uniform they are vital to what we do as individuals and collectively as a wing. The support they provide on a daily basis allows us to carry out our mission knowing that they have our backs. The support they provide many times goes unseen especially when we're away from home on a deployment or at a training venue. Taking on all of the chores at home, transporting children to sporting events, and caring for family members in need are items we usually assist with when we are here but become a full-time additional duty for our family when we're away. Being a family member of a Guardsman means a willingness to sacrifice even when we are at home. Our responsibilities do not end at quitting time. Many stay late or come in early to complete a task for an upcoming inspection. When someone is sick, you step in and pick up that wingman's duties, and are always ready to deploy when the state or country calls. These situations are seldom easy for the member and they are never easy for the family. Anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and thousands of other life events are missed in person though not in spirit. Meanwhile our family must pick up and carry on.

Our families serve with little or no fanfare, just like you do on a daily basis. Without their support, we would be unable to be that Minuteman who can respond when called upon. In years past, our families were not always seen as an asset to the military. For example, families had to move out of base housing within six weeks of the military member being deployed or sent on a remote. This obviously induced additional stress upon the family at a time when a loved one was being sent away. It also upset the larger military community support structure for that family. Fortunately, we have learned from the past and know that the family is critical to the Air National Guardsman and our wing. There are now several programs in the wing designed specifically to assist when needed.

As you know, the key to a successful deployment is honest and open communication. This is the family foundation during a deployment but this foundation must be poured well before a deployment. Ideally, it was built in the early days of the family and continues to cure and strengthen over time. We have several programs that will help keep the family bond strong. These programs are part of your benefits package and are here to ensure mission success and family success. Please contact your supervisor, first sergeant, or the Airman and family readiness program office if you or a family member have a question or need assistance.

Our families are part of our larger Air National Guard family and are truly critical to our success. Please take some time to thank your family for the support they provide. You do your best every day and your family does too so please thank them for what they do. Without them we could not be the best wing in the Air Force.