It’s an article of faith that the United States Air Force’s “family ethic” is a major reason our service is the best in the world, why it succeeds, endures and excels everywhere, every day across our farflung enterprise. From the Air Force’s first day 74 years ago, spouses, siblings, and extended family have stepped in, stepped up and served whenever the need arose.
Air Force retirees — all 685,000 of you — are a critical part of that family fabric too.
Our retirees’ histories and service are impressive. Your work and contributions are worthy of praise and your continued contributions are vital to the missions and excellence that define our Air Force. We are duty bound to recognize and celebrate your service just as we praise contributions from your families, both immediate and extended.
Simply put, Air Force retirees are key players that keep the Air Force of today ready and primed for any mission, anytime, anywhere. Your experiences, the stories you share, and your volunteer work have long been a powerful “secret weapon” that helps us recruit and retain Airmen. You help us remember and use “best practices” and you set an example for all of us to follow.
I see it everywhere I go and almost every day.
Visit almost any Air Force installation and you can find retired Airmen stepping up to make our Air Force better. You’re serving as volunteers at our Retiree Activities Offices, Clinics, and other facilities lending a hand where you can. You’re serving as mentors to currently serving Airmen by offering guidance, sharing lessons learned, and just sharing “war stories” that give us a glimpse of the past.
As Air Force retirees, you are powerful ambassadors outside the gate.
You may not be wearing the uniform or live near a military installation, but you still represent our Air Force in communities worldwide. Whether that means speaking at local schools, supporting your communities or just being good neighbors, as retirees you are constantly telling the Air Force story through your words and actions. And how we treat our retirees is a reflection of how the Air Force will treat our nation’s sons and daughters.
In short, retirees are the “connective tissue” that binds our Air Force family of yesteryear to the force of today and the one building for tomorrow. Our Air Force retirees provide continuity and knowledge, experience and authenticity. All of that is needed for us to succeed going forward.
We are indebted to you.
Our retirees deserve our support and respect as valued members of the Air Force family. To all our Air Force retirees no matter where you are, I thank you and salute you.