Leave no Airman, family member behind; we care

  • Published
  • By Col. Pete Sands
  • 319th Support Group
A traditional value of the United States military is to “leave no one behind.” The historic meaning of this phrase is that in the heat of the battle we will never abandon a fellow Airman. Air Force heritage throughout history is filled with heroic actions by individuals and teams that ignored great personal risk; and with tremendous courage, ingenuity and great personal sacrifice overcame the odds to make sure “no person was left behind.” They cared! 

The dangers faced by our fellow Wingmen have significantly increased in the ongoing Global War on Terror. Our Airmen are courageous and follow the traditional Air Force values practiced by those that blazed the trail before us (not only in battle, but also when fellow Wingmen confronted dangers just as deadly as a “walk outside the wire.”) Do we have the courage to approach a fellow Wingman and insist on their car keys if they are a danger to themselves and others? If we care, the answer must be “yes.” 

When our Wingmen return from a stressful deployment, do leaders have the courage to ask tough questions if they observe a change in behavior? “Are you having problems with a relationship?” “Are you and your family financially stressed?” “Were you engaged in action that still causes anxiety?” If we care, we must ask these questions. 

Finally, we must care about our own well-being, maintain a balance between work and family, and nurture our spiritual, physical and mental health. If life becomes unbalanced, be willing to have the courage of conviction to take what many of us may find one of the most difficult actions of our lives: we need to care enough about ourselves and our family to seek the appropriate person or leader and simply state, “I need help.” The Air Force cares. 

There are many base resources that can help you with any problem you may face. Please take advantage of them, and where appropriate, encourage others to do so. We care!