Commentary

May 8, 2014

A chance for me to say thank you

Staff Sgt. Joel Mease
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Did you know April was Month of the Military Child? I’ll be honest; it didn’t dawn on me until yesterday. I can understand if you forgot, or didn’t notice. It’s easy, after all, with last-minute taskers, performance reports to write, doing the daily tasks asked of us – a lot of times I think these recognition months become white noise. You hear it, but you really don’t.

It’s a shame, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped in public – just so they could say, “Thank you for what you do.” But how many times have I thanked my daughter for her service?

I tell her I love her every day; give her parental support she deserves, but I don’t think I’ve ever thanked her for her sacrifice.

I realize she is only 3 years old, but in those few, short years she didn’t have a choice in joining a military family.

During the first few months of her life I was only able to be with her for a couple weeks.

While my wife was visiting the United States from Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, where we were stationed, a serious pregnancy complication forced  her into the hospital. Kaitlynn was born two and a half months earlier than planned, and I was seven time zones away.

The unit leadership I served under was absolutely great at getting me back to New Mexico to see my 2-pound, 6-ounce baby girl, but, of course, leave doesn’t last forever, and I had a commitment to serve.

My daughter, still stuck in the intensive care unit, would have to stay there with her mother until she was strong enough to be discharged and old enough to get a flu shot, before she could fly to the United Kingdom.

This was my first real taste of what sacrifice is to the military family. Sure, my wife and I have missed birthdays, holidays, high school reunions, and even funerals, but this was different. This was the first time my sacrifice was shared by someone who didn’t have a say in my decision to serve.

The next time my daughter had to share in that sacrifice she could walk, talk and ask, “Where’s daddy?”

I still remember the bus ride to Camp Guernsey, Wyo., to attend pre-deployment training, and the call from my wife. My daughter had said goodbye to me earlier in the day at the airport, but she didn’t understand why, now it was past 6 p.m., I still hadn’t come home from work. My wife found my daughter sitting by the garage door in our kitchen, waiting. She had waited there for more than an hour, but it hadn’t occurred to her, yet, that this was not her daddy’s typical work day, and she wouldn’t get to welcome me home for more than six months.

When I finally did come home, I admit I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure if my daughter would remember me when I stepped off that plane in Abilene, Texas. When I did, all that nerve was for naught, as my daughter made a beeline for me as soon as she saw me and gave me a huge hug.

Part of that commitment I made, was knowing I will miss some of those moments with my family. There will always be more deployments, TDYs and weekend duties that will call me in to serve in the future, and I will ask my daughter once again to share that sacrifice.

Now, when I think of the Month of the Military Child, it’s not just an opportunity to spotlight our military children; it’s a chance for us Airmen to say thanks for our children’s service.

So let me take this opportunity to say – thank you, Kaitlynn, for your sacrifice to our country.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

AF Study: Why Airmen remain in the Service

Southwest Asia — U.S. Air Force senior leaders are witnessing elevated retention rates due to military members remaining in the service beyond their initial service commitment.  The increase in retention rates produces challenges to enact the congressionally-mandated force reductions, which creates budget dilemmas. By understanding the military members’ motives, budget decision maker...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)

Run to the Sound of the Guns…Be a Servant Leader

Many of us have seen the best and worst in leadership throughout the course of our careers as Airmen. Usually we can think of two names, one good and one bad, that personify each bound of the leadership spectrum. This reality l...
 
 

Staying safe during flash flood season

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — July is here with high temperatures and a high chance of flash flooding. The months with the highest probability for thunderstorms are July through September. Las Vegas’ annual rainfall is approximately 4.13 inches, and while this may not seem like a lot of rain, the elevation of Las Vegas makes a...
 

 
(Courtesy photo)

Protecting man’s best friend

  On January 11, 2013, my coworker’s dog gave birth to litter of puppies. In March 2013, I made one of those puppies part of my family. Castiel was only 12 pounds and curious of everything. I always had dogs growing up, ...
 
 

Take the time to fulfill travel requirements prior to departure

Military members often wonder why they have to fulfill additional requirements in order to take leave outside the continental United States, whether it’s Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance system, theater, country clearance or other requirements put in place. Some of the responses I hear on a regular basis are: “It’s just leave, not official travel.”...
 
 

To do or to be? – A very good question

  LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — I am a huge fan of the Air Force Core Values. For a long time, I have felt that whatever board or individual developed the values got them absolutely right. In fact, every Airman, young or … seasoned, who comes into my squadron gets to sit down with me in...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>