Looking toward the future, mindful of the past

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- As I scrutinized every word of the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affair's "Building the Future Air Force: Communication Guidance Card," and all of the many other documents received in preparation for the civilian workforce restructure announcement, it struck me as very odd that the word "Wingman" didn't appear anywhere.

In our search for efficiencies, let's not lose sight of one of our most cherished, time-honored beliefs: checking the sixes of our entire Air Force family -- Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Civilians, Contractors, family members and the local community.

This is a time of great stress for everyone - budget and job cuts, deployments, Compliance Inspections, being away from family during the holidays, etc. We are all expected to do so much more with so much less. Many do not know if they will have a job in the next year.

It's crucial during rough times like these that we pull together ever closer as a family. It doesn't matter if you're military or civilian -- we're all in this together, making the mission happen 24/7/365 all around the globe.

As I watch the young Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Civilians, and International Partners walk across the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center graduation stage, I can feel the sense of accomplishment (and relief that the training is finally over) from each student, the immense pride beaming from the family and friends of the graduates, and my own inner envy at the amazing adventures that are just about to start for these young men and women. I see the future of the Department of Defense in every face and know that they will continue our legacy of excellence.

Although the SAF/PA Card says "Not Business As Usual," I hope there are some things that we don't forget: Check Six!