Thursday, March 20, 2014

top story>>Q&A: Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Q: How long have you been in the Air Force?

A: 27 years. My retirement order will say 27 years, five months and 24 days. (she laughs)

Q: What kept you here past 20 years?

A: The people. I was able to be in positions where I was making a difference in people’s lives, helping them with military services and facing new challenges. I truly was a, “I’m not going to do a day over 20” person. My whole career was like, “four years and that’s it, not a day over 20,” and now being here, 27 years later, I never would have thought, but it was the serving that got me.

Q: What has been the biggest change you’ve witnessed in all your years being in the Air Force?

A: I think our leaders care a lot more about our Airmen today than they did in my day. I can’t tell you a time that I had a first sergeant come visit me in the dorms. I can’t tell you a time that I’ve had anyone ask me, “hey, are there any rumors out there that I can dispel?” The first time I ever remember a command chief ever coming to my work center, I was a master sergeant by then, and it was definitely surprising to see. I think that was the first time I ever had kind of an inkling of what a command chief does.

Q: What is your fondest memory in the Air Force?

A: That is truly hard. My favorite, I think, even though it was a difficult time, was when I deployed to Iraq with the PRESCO team (personnel support for contingency operations) and just getting (the team) through that time. It was the holidays; it was the worst time to be deployed. The job we had to do was crucial, with accountability. There were long hours. There were irate people. Even though I was a newlywed at the time, I had only been married a month and deployed for five months, that was the most rewarding experience to me.

Q: Who is the most influential person that you’ve met in the Air Force, and what did they teach you?

A: I could say Chief Master Sgt. Debra Lyles; she was a Mission Support Group chief. First of all you don’t see a lot of female chiefs. (she laughs) I knew that she was all about the Airmen. She taught me about the importance of relationships, and I just liked how well she worked with other chiefs. I think the lessons that she taught me were: be inclusive, it definitely takes a team; you can’t do it all by yourself, and I think that you’re going to have more success if you have the conversations that you need to have with people instead of just kind of dictating things.

Q: What mark do you want to leave on the Air Force and the people you’ve come in contact with?

A: I hope the mark that I leave is that people see the importance of investing time in other people. Leadership can be inconvenient because something unexpected can happen that will need your focus or attention. There’s never a convenient time to be a leader. If you’re willing to be inconvenienced, I think people will see that as a caring kind of attitude. I hope that what I leave is: invest in your people, they’re worth it. Take the time, it’s worth it, and they deserve it. They deserve that investment of your time.

Q: What has been your favorite duty station, if any, or favorite position?

A: Well as a good chief master sergeant in the Air Force, the best duty station you have is the one where your feet are planted. (she laughs) I can’t leave without saying Little Rock Air Force Base, of course. It’s been a great assignment.

Q: In honor of Women’s History, how did you feel when you realized you were coming to Little Rock AFB as the first female command chief for the 19th Airlift Wing?

A: I look at it as, “a command chief is a command chief is a command chief.” What your gender is, what your background is, it doesn’t matter. A leader is a leader. I’ll be glad when we have an Air Force or a society where there’s no longer “the first this or the first that”, because to me leadership is leadership. It’s unfortunate that people haven’t seen enough diversity in leadership. But hopefully we’ll get there. Now we’re going to have the second female command chief here. It’s not going to be a matter ofgender anymore. I just wish gender didn’t have to be a part of the conversation. I’m proud of the accomplishments of women just as I am of any member of our Air Force. I get out there with Airmen every day, and it’s never a matter of what they look like. It’s about what they bring.

Q: Now that you’re retiring, what’s on your agenda?
A: I do think that I’m going to rest for a little while, but I’m not a person that can sit around the house. (she laughs) I always said that when I retire, I have to do something that’s going to make a difference, where I’m getting up every day and I’m excited about going to work and I’m excited about interacting with the people I’m going to interact with and that I’m helping. When I retire, the next career that I have will definitely have to be something that’s going to help people because that’s what I like to do.

Q: How does your family feel about your retirement?

A: Everybody is excited. Everybody wants me to retire. (she laughs) I’m the one that’s feeling mixed emotions about it.

Q: What are your emotions about retiring?

A: Opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m excited; it feels right, but at the same time, it’s sad because this is all I know. I’m an Air Force brat too. My whole entire life has been in the Air Force community.

Q: What is your advice to Airmen progressing in the Air Force?

A: I would say, focus on being the best that you can be. I know you hear it all the time, but it really is true. I never aspired to be a chief; I never aspired to be a command chief. It was other people who saw potential that motivated me and helped me to become inspired to do it. It was someone else who looked at my work ethic and saw that leadership potential in me that later on inspired me. If you focus on being the very best at whatever you’re given, all that other stuff is going to come along. That’s leadership. Not every job that you’re going to do every single day is going to excite you. How do you act in those times when you have to do something that is not the most fun thing to do? Are you still going to give it your best anyway? That’s what people want to see. Leadership is not just “everything’s great and wonderful, great guy, great gal,” it’s how you respond to adversity and tough times. What kind of attitude do you have when things aren’t going your way?

Q: What is your final thought to Little Rock Air Force Base?
A: It’s in good hands. I hope I’m missed but not needed. I know I’m not needed, and I’m OK with that. That’s not what leadership is. When I walk away, there are other leaders that are going to do just fine. They are going to carry it on. I’m not sad about giving up this position so to speak, I’m sad because the Air Force is my family, and I’m going to miss a lot of people, but I know that the Air Force is in great hands. And it goes on. I feel confident that we have people that have a heart for taking care of our Airmen. They have a passion for the mission and the job that they do. My sadness is in missing my Air Force family.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: Thank you. It’s very humbling. Who would have thought, you know? I’m thankful for all the experiences I’ve had, for the people that I’ve interacted with, for the things I’ve learned and the relationships that were made. If I could sum it all up, I do have a very big heart of gratitude. I’m excited about the future, but I’m sad about leaving this behind because I’m just so grateful for all the things I’ve learned. The Air Force has been really good to me. I don’t know one other thing in life that I could have done that would be more fulfilling than serving in the Air Force.

Q: If there was one word you would use to wrap up 27 years, five months and 24 days of service, what would it be?
A: I would say fulfilling… deeply fulfilling.

TOP STORY>>Running for the Fallen

By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

With the traditional firing of the Ozark High cannon the third annual Arkansas Run for the Fallen was underway March 14. Family and friends gathered on the sides of streets with signs and American flags to support the runners and pay their respects to fallen Arkansans as they passed through small towns in central Arkansas.

“The sacrifices that their brave sons and daughters made will never be forgotten so long as blood courses through my veins,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bubba Beason, 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron fabrications flight chief and creator of the Arkansas Run for the Fallen. “I told the volunteers for this year, to remember who and what they were running for. I said their pain from running six miles is nothing compared to the pain these families have to endure for the rest of their lives. You are running because these fallen service members no longer can.”

The three-day event began in Ozarks, Ark., after a small ceremony and the singing of the national anthem. Volunteers this year included bikers, runners, state police, as well as military personnel and civilians. This year, runners were grouped in five-person teams. One runner carried the American flag, the second, the Arkansas state flag, the third, the Remember the Fallen flag, the fourth, the Prisoner of War, Missing in Action flag and the fifth a smaller American flag attached with the biography of the fallen hero, to include name, rank, location and information about how the individual was killed in action.

Every mile, for 133 miles, a member of the running group read the biography card, placed it in the ground at the designated memorial site for the fallen service member, rendered a salute and hugged the family members of the fallen before grabbing the flags and pressing onward to the next mile marker. The run concluded at the state Capitol with a guest speaker, thankful remarks from Beason, a word from a gold-star mother, the reading of the 133 names of the fallen Arkansans, and finished with a 21-gun salute performed by Little Rock Air Force Base’s honor guard.

The purpose of the run is to give family members of the fallen a method to heal and to honor those that have been lost. Many times Beason said he has received emails from gold-star parents expressing how much the run means to their family. Beason explained that a gold-star parent is the parent of a fallen service member, whereas a blue-star parent is the parent of a service member who’s still actively serving.

“When you get to see a gold-star family for the first time and you put a flag in the ground and see the family break down in tears, you realize while you’re doing something so simple by running a mile and putting a flag down, it’s so much more for the families because in their hearts and their minds they know their loved one is not forgotten,” said Beason.

Beason went on to say he hopes the event continues to grow by introducing more sponsors and volunteers next year.

“Two weeks after these people die, the only people who remember are their families, which is an injustice,” he said.

If there was one message Beason could leave with those who ran, watched, participated or just read about the run, he said it would be two simple words.

“Never forget.”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

TOP STORY>>‘We know we joined a boys club’

By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Women have been proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps for almost 100 years. It all started in 1918 when Pvt. Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve.

The number of women serving in the Marines grew from there. During the Vietnam War there were more than 2,700 women Marines fighting for freedom, both stateside and abroad.

Women at Little Rock Air Force Base are continuing the legacy of female Marines.

Staff Sgt. Sandra Poston, Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training master training specialist coordinator on base, knew she wanted to be a Marine the second she walked into her recruiter’s office.

“I went to the other branches’ recruiters, but the Marines stood out,” Poston said. “They had confidence and were professional.”

After joining, Poston said there was one prominent benefit of being a woman Marine.

“Females are closer,” said Poston. “We have a sense of camaraderie. Other female Marines have greatly inspired me. I could go to any of my friends’ doorsteps around the world and know that they would take me in.”

Poston said she hasn’t faced any discrimination, but she often has to prove to males that she is just as capable of doing the job.

“We know we joined a boys club,” said Poston. “Sometimes we have to make sure our male counterparts see us as the same. After all, we are all Marines wearing the same uniform.”

Lance Cpl. Amanda Gulbranson, Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Marine student, joined the Marines after her brother enlisted.

Gulbranson said the only apprehension she’s faced wasn’t from Marines, but from outsiders.

“I haven’t been in the Marines for very long, but sometimes people are skeptical and question me on why I chose the Marines,” Gulbranson said.

Many members of society still picture a Marine as a strong masculine male. But today, more than seven percent of U.S. Marines are female.

“I am inspired by all women Marines,” Gulbranson said. “But I find camaraderie in all Marines, female or not.”

Gulbranson mentioned three females who graduated infantry training in 2013 as a notable example. The three women were the first to graduate from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Training Battalion course in the Marine Corps’ 238-year history.

“I met the three, and they were very confident,” said Gulbranson. “They were your typical grunts ready for battle. They weresure of themselves, but they earned the right to be.”

Ten more women have graduated the course since the three women.

Gulbranson also acknowledged another person to recently influence her, an Airman from Little Rock AFB.

“Chief Master Sgt. Overton gave a speech to us, and it really inspired me. It is encouraging to see a woman make it to that position,” said Gulbranson.

Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton became the first female command chief master sergeant of the 19th Airlift Wing in May 2012.

More and more opportunities are available for women that were not, just 20 years ago. Women who pursue historically male-dominated career fields, such as the military, are paving the way for others. The female Marines on base play a vital part in what will continue to make women’s history.

TOP STORY>>Program helps Airmen adjust to military lifestyle

By Staff Sgt. Jessica Condit
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Service members at Little Rock Air Force Base, have developed a new program, the Airman Family Sponsor Program, to assist Airmen in adjusting to their new military lifestyle. This program, in the works since July 2012, became a permanent and important step for Airmen who are transitioning from basic military training and technical school to their first duty station.

Seventy-nine Airmen have signed up for the Airman Family Sponsor Program, leaving the worry of where to go and what to do behind. Airmen have the opportunity to build friendships and gather support by meeting their sponsors upon arrival at Little Rock AFB.

While the program has only been active for about two months, the ratio of Airmen to sponsors is steadily increasing. The need for sponsors is pertinent to the success of the program.

“We currently have 71 sponsors and 58 Airmen to match to them,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Wass, First Term Airman’s Center, career assistance advisor. “The biggest concern, right now, is making sure there are enough sponsors to cover the Airmen coming through FTAC. There are 21 waiting to be assigned a sponsor right now and we can have up to 60 new Airmen every month.”

The goal of the program is to ensure Airmen feel comfortable in their new environment and have as little stress as possible adjusting to a different lifestyle.

“The Airman Sponsor Program brings together the social and mental domains of resilience,” said Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton, 19th Airlift Wing command chief. “It helps Airmen adjust to a way of life and provides a safe haven or connection with a family.”

Being an Airman sponsor requires being in the position to serve as a positive role model, helping Airmen understand their own role as members of the Air Force, and reinforcing these positive social values that are being instilled through programs such as the First Term Airman’s Center.

Overton expressed that the program is designed to ensure airmen have some place to call home all the time. She explained that through the program, relationships will already be established so Airmen will have families to celebrate holidays and special events with if there are not enough sponsor families available.

For both the sponsor and the new Airman, the rewards are high. Not only does a sponsor help an Airman transition into his or her new Air Force family, the sponsor also has the privilege to see the Airman progress and become a valuableasset to the Air Force.

“It’s fulfilling knowing that you influenced an Airman in the right direction,” said Overton. “It’s a two-way street. You see the challenges Airmen face, help them connect with people, and in the end, know that you helped that Airman along the way.”

To become a volunteer, certain criteria have to be met. The volunteer must have at least six years of time-in-service, at least one enlistment, no negative quality-force indicators, and an 80 or higher on the most recent physical fitness test. The strict criteria ensure that only the best Airmen, whether enlisted members, officers or federal employees, are serving as role models for our newest Airmen.

After submitting your sponsor application, the First Term Airman Center cadre will match sponsors with Airmen who share the same basic characteristics and interests outside of their direct chain of command. The sponsorship lasts for six months, but can be continued with the approval of the sponsor’s supervisor in order to foster a relationship that could potentially last through their entire career.

For more information on the Airman Family Sponsor Program or to volunteer to become a sponsor, contact Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Wass at 501-987-5903.

TOP STORY>>FY15 Force Structure Changes

By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Air Force officials released force structure changes resulting from the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Monday.

To ensure the service successfully transitions to a leaner force that remains ready, the Air Force plans to remove almost 500 aircraft across the inventories of the Guard, Reserves and active duty components over the next five years.

“The FY15PB request favors a smaller and more capable force – putting a premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, at a fiscal 15 budget preview Feb. 24.

The base is set to gain 10 C-130J aircraft in FY15 and decrease the number of C-130H aircraft by 12 in FY14.

If the proposal is enacted into law, the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, a C-130 Air Force Reserve unit at the base, will convert to the 913th Airlift Group, and be equipped with 10 C-130 J-model aircraft. The projected force structure changes authorize the unit to grow to more than 600 Reserve Airmen.

Additionally, two 19th Airlift Wing active associate units, the 30th Airlift Squadron who works with the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 187th Airlift Squadron at Cheyenne Regional Airport, Wyo., and the 52nd Airlift Squadron who partners with the Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., are proposed to be inactivated in FY15. Both squadrons employ C-130H model aircraft.

“As we built the force structure plan associated with the FY15 President’s Budget request, we attempted to strike the delicate balance of a ready force today and a modern force tomorrow, while working to ensure the world’s best Air Force is the most capable at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “This force structure plan balances capability, readiness and capacity and prioritizes global, long-range capabilities and multi-role platforms required to operate in a highly-contested environment.”

Air Force officials also said they plan to divest entire fleets, such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II and U-2 and focus on the multi-role aircraft that can deliver a variety of capabilities combatant commanders require. Divesting entire fleets will save the Air Force billions versus millions of dollars, because divesting fleets also saves the costs associated with infrastructure, logistics, personnel and base operating support.

“In addition to fleet divestment, we made the tough choice to reduce a number of tactical fighters, command and control, electronic attack and intra-theater airlift assets so we could rebalance the Air Force at a size that can be supported by expected funding levels. Without those cuts, we will not be able to start recovering to required readiness levels,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

Little Rock AFB is focused on taking care of people, readiness and maximizing every dollar.

“The 19th Airlift Wing, along with our partner units, is engaged with our Airmen to ensure we articulate the proposed changes in the FY15 budget,” said Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “In this fiscally constrained environment, we want to ensure we effectively and efficiently organize, train and equip our Airmen to accomplish the current mission and posture to meet the future missions our Nation asks us to do.”

The service also developed an analytical process to help determine the proper mix of people and capabilities across the three components to meet current and future requirements. Leaders from the active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, and two state adjutants general contributed to the process with the intent of preserving capability and stability across the total force.

“Wherever possible the Air Force leveraged opportunities to rebalance personnel and force structure into the Reserve component,” James said. “For that reason, at most Air Reserve component locations where we divested aircraft, we replaced the existing flying missions with a new mission and preserved the majority of the manpower to ease the transition.”

Little Rock AFB leadership is emphasizing readiness through the concept of “Team Little Rock.”

“Here at Little Rock, Total Force Association is how way we execute our mission every day,” said Rhatigan. “We are fully integrated with our Air Force Reserve partners of 22nd AF/Det 1 and the Guardsmen in the 189th Airlift Wing. We will continue to work hand in hand with them through any future force structure changes.”

Officials said this effort will help the Air Force maintain combat capability within mandated budgetary constraints by using the strengths and unique capabilities of the Guard and Reserve components to make up for capabilities lost as active-duty end strength declines.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

TOP STORY>>Women’s History Month through the eyes of an Airman

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In 1987, two great things happened: I was born and Women’s History Month was created.

This observance, though just as young as I am, is a constant reminder to me and all Americans of how much women have accomplished and contributed to this country.

Being a black female in the military and the first and only female in my family in the Air Force, I appreciate those pioneers who made it possible for me to serve as an Airman.

I appreciate women like Esther Blake, the first woman in the Air Force. She enlisted on the first minute of the first hour of the first day that regular Air Force duty was authorized for women: July 8, 1948. She joined the Air Force while both her sons were serving the Army Air Forces and separated due to disability in 1954.

I pay tribute to retired Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris, the first African American female general in the Air Force. She served from 1965 – 1997 and retired as the highest ranking female officer in the Air Force and the nation’s highest ranking African-American woman in the Department of Defense. She was also the first female aircraft maintenance officer, one of the first two female air officers commanding at the United States Air Force Academy, and the Air Force’s first female vice commander for maintenance. She also served as a White House social aide during the Carter administration. Her service medals and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Service Medal.

I look up to women like Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton, the first female command chief for the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. She joined the Air Force in 1987, the same year I was born and Women’s History Month began. I’ve had the privilege to interact with, learn from and be mentored by Chief Overton on a personal level. I respect her as a leader. March 21, she will be retiring, leaving an enormous trail of success behind her. I plan to gather as much wisdom and insight from that trail as I can, and with my personal experiences, create a trail of my own.

Women’s History Month inspires me, not just in March, but every day to embrace where others before me came from, to be grateful for the future they provided me, to be proud enough to take advantage of every opportunity offered to me, and to be wise enough to leave a legacy of my own.

To all women who make a difference, I salute you.

TOP STORY>>Preventative medicine: Real food

By Jeff Vaughn
19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

In November 2012, I woke up with a sore throat and made an appointment with my family physician. After a few tests, the doctor came in the exam room and said I tested positive for strep throat. She was more concerned, however, that my blood pressure was elevated. She requested I monitor my blood pressure and come back in a few weeks to talk about medication if it remained high.

I left her office thinking, “I’m 41 years old. I’m not ready to be placed on medication for the rest of my life.” I went straight home, got on my laptop, and started doing research on blood pressure. After several hours of reading, I concluded that my diet was contributing to my high blood pressure. I was already exercising five-six days per week, so I didn’t think it was a lack of exercise and my weight was good. My diet had to change.

One of the first articles I read on high blood pressure hit me the hardest. I loved soda and the article stated the caramel coloring in soda had been linked to hypertension (not to mention all the sugar in soda). It was clear that soda had to go, and I quit that day, replacing the soda with anti-inflammatory green tea.

As I continued my research, I started seeing a trend. The trend was anti-inflammatory foods and how adding them to my diet could change my health. So, I embarked on an experiment that has changed my life.

Although the FDA has not evaluated all of the reported benefits of anti-inflammatory foods, I started adding many of these foods to my diet, and my blood pressure started going down.

Many other things improved as well. My seasonal allergies disappeared; I have not taken an over-the-counter allergy medication since I changed my diet. I lost the mental fog that plagued me; I think more clearly and have more energy. I went for my annual physical in August, and my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers were great, but best of all, my blood pressure had normalized without medication.

I knew it would be hard to eliminate everything processed from my diet, but I made a decision to limit processed and high-sugar foods. I still eat pizza, have the occasional hamburger, chocolate brownie, but I added a lot of great whole foods and spices to my diet and the change has been nothing short of miraculous.

Anti-inflammatory foods are delicious and possess so many benefits I can’t fit them all into this article. I started eating fruits like blueberries and blackberries; they contain anthocyanin, a nutrient with tremendous health benefits. They taste great when mixed with strawberries in smoothies. I also added red grapes to my diet; they contain resveratrol, which some nutritionists consider a potent natural phenol in food.

I started eating carrots and sweet potatoes, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and are packed with the anti-oxidant beta carotene. Another potent vegetable I eat is broccoli, which studies suggest could lower blood pressure and can boost testosterone in men.

I also added fat-rich foods to my diet such as olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, ground flax seed and almond. They may reduce compounds that increase inflammation in the body.

Wild salmon and tuna provide vital protein while packing a huge dose of omega-3 fatty acids. If fish is not a common food in your diet, add a fish oil or krill oil supplement. Whole eggs are another health food loaded with protein and one of the only foods that contain natural occurring vitamin D.

The most important additions I made were spices. Turmeric, a food used heavily in India, has been compared with ibuprofen in studies as an active anti-inflammatory agent. Cinnamon and ginger are two other spices that have been reported to pack a huge anti-inflammatory punch and could even act as natural antibiotics and anti-fungal agents.

Anti-inflammatory foods have changed my health. I recommend discussing diet changes with your doctor to see if you can safely eat them as some of these foods could cause interactions with medications. Once cleared by your health care provider, however, I encourage you to give anti-inflammatory foods a try. What do you have to lose: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or even cancer?

TOP STORY>>Air Force Assistance Fund pays it forward

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

From March 3 to April 11, members of the Air Force have the opportunity to raise money and contribute to the Air Force Assistance Fund. This year, Team Little Rock’s goal is more than $98,000.

The Air Force Assistance Fund was established to provide a yearly effort to raise funds for active-duty service members, retirees, reservists, guard members and their dependents to include surviving spouses who are in need of emergency aid.

Airmen can contribute by having an allotment set up through MyPay or through a one-time contribution. When contributing with an allotment, a minimum of one dollar each month for at least three months is mandatory. One-time contributions made by check or cash have no minimum amount.

An Airman and their family may need assistance at any given time. With the AFAF organizations, Airmen have the opportunity to get this assistance and alleviate worry in the meantime. Staff Sgt. Joshua Baker, a 50th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and his wife Joleen Baker, a 314th Airlift Wing secretary, had the opportunity to experience this first hand when their son, Jimmy was born with a cleft lip in 2007.

After asking for assistance from the AFAF, the Bakers received a $3,500 medical grant to pay for expenses for Jimmy to be seen at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.

Giving to the AFAF helps military families, said Joleen during an interview in 2013. Joleen also expressed how proud she was to serve with such selfless givers.

While the Bakers received AFAF donations with the help of their first sergeant, many avenues of information on the AFAF and its four organizations are available to Airmen and their families. Chaplains, first sergeants and the Airman and Family Readiness Center all provide Airmen with resourceful information and point them in the right direction in order to obtain assistance.

The AFAF consists of four different organizations: the Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, Air Force Aid Society, Inc., General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, and the Air Force Enlisted Village.

For more information on the AFAF, its organizations, or to donate, visit or speak with your unit AFAF representative.