How good of an “Air Force” family member are you?

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force stresses the importance of taking care of your fellow Airmen and yourself; annual training and wingman days are regular reminders. The success of Air Force missions relies on all of us to play a role.

Taking care of Airmen is only part of our responsibility; the other part is to be a good Air Force family member. I think there are three main ways to be a good family member: build strong relationships, be involved and be a professional.

Building strong relationships gives others a chance to get to know you and appreciate you. When I was stationed in Virginia, we did not have the traditional 'base' infrastructure close by. We organized a once-a-month Air Force pizza night to get our families together, relax, and sometimes talk a little shop and to celebrate successes. As we've scattered around the world in subsequent assignments, those friends have been invaluable contacts for one another.

Secondly, be involved! I remember at my first base in Montana how some people were miserable and claimed there was nothing to do. The sad fact is that they chose not to be involved and I think that reflected negatively on their experiences in life. Participating in squadron events, volunteering in the community and exploring your new environment is not only personally satisfying, but gives you an opportunity to grow and prove your worth.

The third way to be a good family member is to be competent and reliable, a "professional". Be someone who can always be counted on to do your part and go the extra mile. I served with some Airmen who seemed to make it their mission to duck out early or do the minimum required; fortunately not many are like this. I have also served with Airmen who get the job done right the first time, every time, who help others and who bring solutions not just problems. The professional Airmen are the type of family member that I admire, and they are who I am most willing to help out in a pinch.

I truly believe we should take care of everyone in our Air Force family, and it's also important to be a good family member yourself. It's never too early to start.