Leadership Lessons: Are you committed to our Air Force heritage?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Regina Castro
  • 319th Force Support Squadron commander
Traditions - the military is full of them. I am a big fan and a believer in the time-honored traditions our Air Force continues to provide ... the render of the salute, the polish of the uniform and the institution of the Air Force Club System.

Yes, base clubs themselves honor many of the Air Force traditions.

Originally, clubs were established as dining facilities. It wasn't long before they became a natural hub for social functions and official purposes. "The Club" has evolved, but it is still inextricably tied to the Air Force institution. Clubs have evolved to meet commanders' needs as well as the social and morale needs of the men and women under their command.

The club contributes directly to unit cohesiveness and provides for mutual interests of a wide and varying group of individuals connected directly and indirectly with the Air Force. The club is also a place where a young officer or junior enlisted member can meet with senior leaders, away from the stiff protocol of the office. It serves as the center of our military social fabric as a place to learn and demonstrate core values.

Base clubs have always been and continue to be a focal point for the social traditions of the Air Force, but a club's success is dependent on the support it receives from eligible members. An outstanding club system requires both membership and participation. Grand Forks is leading the way in the Air Mobility Command for club membership.
However, did you know that your membership gets you other discounts as well? As an E1-E4 you pay only $4 a month. You receive $2 off meals at the club - eat there twice a month and your membership pays for itself. E5-E9 and O1-O2 is only $8! Wednesday nights kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal - between the free kids meal and $2 discount of the adult meal you just got your membership dues back! Plus you get discounts at Arts & Crafts, Bowling, Auto Skills and Outdoor Recreation!

The non-appropriated funds that the club generates also helps to pay for (or subsidizes) Youth Programs, the Library, the Outdoor Recreation Center, Dakota Lanes, the Arts and Crafts Center, the Auto Skills Center, the base swimming pool and more. Alternatively, when it does not receive adequate backing, a club may draw resources away from those other activities.

That's why club membership is a professional prerogative: it provides a forum to preserve and enhance a variety of military traditions while also making Grand Forks AFB a better place for our members and their families to live and play.

There are those who will use the club, and there are those members who see the true benefit, support the club and commit to becoming a member. I'll use an analogy a friend's boss shared with him when he was a second lieutenant. The boss said, "It's like the chicken and the pig. You have a lovely plate of bacon and eggs for breakfast (which you can now order at the Club by the way!) The chicken - the chicken is involved with the breakfast, but the pig - the pig is committed!"

Are you committed to our Air Force heritage?