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January Chief's Perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. James D. Rider
  • 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the start of a new year we often take time to reflect. And I can think of no better time than now to reflect on the future of the South Carolina Air National Guard and how we might be able to influence our future.

With the election uncertainty and Congress wrestling with the budget and the economy, funding cuts are inevitable which will also include military spending. Collectively we all have one voice through our elected legislators. We can prioritize the severity of how cuts and changes should be accomplished. Our voices can be made louder and more powerful through professional military organizations.

What are professional military organizations? Professional military organizations are formed to educate, recognize and represent groups of individuals, their ideas, interests and goals. They often inspire camaraderie and esprit de corps. And they frequently provide lobbyists for military legislation. Some of the National Guard/Air Force related professional military organizations are the National Guard Association of South Carolina, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard, the Air Force Sergeants Association, and the Air Force Association. There are many others related to all branches of the military such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. These are just a few organizations and by no means a complete list as there are also local professional military organizations to include the Airman’s Council, the 5/6 Council, the Top 3 Council, the Chief’s Council and the First Shirt Council.

The goals of many of these organizations include educating, informing and maintaining a strong national defense; maintaining compensation and benefits at sufficient levels; representing the interests of military personnel and their families and survivors; advocating for compensation and benefits earned by military members; and enlightening the public on the demands and sacrifices associated with serving in our military. These organizations also advocate for maintaining a system of compensation and benefits in order to attract and retain high quality personnel to meet the Nation's defense requirements, both today and in the future.

More specific goals of the various professional military organizations differ depending on the membership the organization represents.

I encourage you to join one or more professional military organizations that reflect and embody your personal ideas, interests and goals. These organizations either local or national educate us and advocate for us in the halls of Congress where the decisions are made that affect the Air Force, South Carolina Air National Guard and our future. Their power and influence comes from the number of members they represent. After all, we need to be looking out for our military future. And by the way, it is one of our many duty responsibilities listed in the Air Force Handbook, Airman (AFH 1).                            

Happy New Year Swamp Fox!