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Every Airman, family member is important

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, delivered one resounding message during a town hall meeting at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, recently - Every Airman is important.

All Airmen are integral to the service's success and no job and no one is
more important than another, General Schwartz said. "The fundamental thing
is that everybody counts, no specialty is more important than any other.
Everyone matters and everyone is an important part of this team."

Brig. Gen. James J. Jones, 55th Wing commander, shares the Chief of Staff's
view.

"The U.S. Air Force is the greatest Air Force in the world and that's
because of our Airmen," General Jones said. "Every Airman is incredibly
important to mission success. Without our maintenance technicians our planes
won't fly, without our security forces Airmen our bases wouldn't be secure
and without our civil engineering professionals our infrastructure would
collapse."

General Schwartz said waging two wars is not easy, but today's Airmen are
helping the joint team succeed with the full range of capabilities the Air
Force has to offer.

"Our folks who are down range are supporting the mission and they should be
proud of that," General Schwartz said.

However, just because an Airman isn't on the front lines doesn't mean
they're not contributing to the fight, he added.

"Our Airmen are the reason for our successes. While we have the most
sophisticated equipment in the world, without our Airmen we can't meet a
single objective and we can't succeed," General Jones said. Family members
of Airmen are equally important. It's vital they are taken care of and
understand how much they're appreciated.

"Our mission requires a fairly high operations tempo. As a result, many
spouses are required to handle everything at home while their husband or
wife is deployed and every deployment brings a great deal of stress. Our
family members feel the stress and impact of the operations tempo as much as
our military members--maybe even more so.," General Jones said.

Here at Offutt there are numerous programs to help spouses and other family
members adapt to military life and cope with the stress a deployment may
bring, said Judith J. Davis, a team leader and community readiness
consultant from the Offutt Airman and Family Readiness Center.

"We offer a program called Heartlink, which is a spouse orientation program
designed to familiarize spouses with the Air Force lifestyle, and let them
know how important spouses are to the Air Force," Ms. Davis said.

The center also offers pre-deployment and reintegration briefings to help
family members through the deployment and reintegration process, she said.

General Jones said supporting spouses and family members enables deployed
Airmen to focus on the mission and worry less about the challenges at home.
This equates to mission success.

"Supporting our family members in every possible way isn't just something we
do on the side--it's part of our mission." said General Jones.

(Information courtesy of Staff Sgt. Matthew Bates, Defense Media Activity-San Antonio was used in this article)