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.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

9/11 Tower Challenge held at UofA

The Never Forgotten 9/11 Tower Challenge was held at the University of Arizona Football Stadium on Sept. 11. Approximately 350 participants, including personnel from D-M, attempted the challenge of climbing 2,071 stairs. This f...
 
 

Core elements work together

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The Air Force has built a suicide prevention program based on 11 overlapping core elements that stress community involvement and leadership in the prevention of suicides in the military: Leadership involvement — Air Force leaders actively support the entire spectrum of suicide prevention initiatives in the community. Addressing suicide...
 
 

Keep sports safe

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Playing sports is fun and it helps people keep in shape and relieve stress. However, if one is not careful, playing sports can result in injuries that keep Airmen on the sideline and out of work. “The main cause of sports-related injuries is over aggressive play and people going...
 

 
DoD

Ice bucket challenge – What does DOD say?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — If you have been following social media lately, you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over your newsfeed and Instagram. This has become an internet phenomenon in which people get doused with ice water to raise money to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease....
 
 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin