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November Shirt Blast

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Ashford, a first sergeant assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Oct. 4, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Carl Clegg, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Ashford, a first sergeant assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Oct. 4, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Carl Clegg, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

This year is quickly coming to a close as is evident by the return of the holiday season. What a year it has been: a pandemic, political unrest, government mandated shutdowns, and the list goes on. It has been unprecedented to say the least. Everyone, throughout the world has been affected in some way by the events that have taken place this year.

Despite all that has happened and the continued problems we face, the holiday season tends to see an attitude change in people. There is a propensity to be nicer and a genuine concern for our fellow man. Respect for our fellow man tends to replace indifference that is sometimes shown throughout the rest of the year.

This time of year is also a time of gathering with family though this year may be very different. Regardless, we celebrate family and take time to express thanks and gratitude for family, friends and other things in our lives. One thing we must remember, as Swamp Foxes, our family consists of more than our relatives.

As members of the military we share a bond that many of our peers will never know or understand. We have a bond that transcends family. Our experiences as members of the military, and as Swamp Foxes, make us unique. Though very diverse in make-up, differences are put aside and all work together for a common goal as coworkers and friends.

With the camaraderie, it is important that in our dealings with each other, respect is shown. It is very easy as we work together to become familiar or comfortable to the point that customs and courtesies get overlooked. Though it may not be intentional, it happens nonetheless. Perhaps a regular review of customs and courtesies in AFI 34-1201 is needed for all of us.

Something as simple as addressing someone by their rank or saluting an officer as they walk by does not in any way diminish the relationship we have with each other. If anything, it helps to strengthen the bond we have as members of the military and as Swamp Foxes. The simple act of showing customs and courtesies to our fellow members, regardless of rank, conveys the message that they matter and are part of the team.

As the year comes to a close, remember to show kindness and respect to each other in your daily routine. Kindness and respect are particularly important when someone from outside of your work area enters. It will leave a lasting impression on those around you and sets an example for those who follow. Remember these things as you drive home after a long drill weekend. When we are kind and respectful, we demonstrate our thankfulness to be a part of this great nation and a part of our military family.