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Using your leave: A must for recharging yourself, your family

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Clinton R. ZumBrunnen
  • 10th Airlift Squadron commander
As I daily fought the urge to worry about work piling up at the office while I was on leave, I was reminded of the need to periodically disconnect from the Air Force and reconnect with my family and friends.

My evaluation management system list was growing, my preparation for the operation readiness inspection was lagging, and our next deployment was looming. Sound familiar? It would have been easy to talk myself into not taking time off just to keep up, but that would have been a huge mistake! I needed the rest and so did my family.

Leave (rest) is especially important to Airmen from the perspective of maintaining personal balance. We all need time to unwind. Period.

With that said, I want to briefly focus on how important leave is to an Airman's family.

Just as we owe ourselves some quality time off, we also owe our families and friends periods of undivided attention throughout the year. In many ways, our families are like maintainers who daily "generate" our Air Force's most valuable asset--Airmen.

We need the strength that springs from their support, so we need to reinvest some of our down time in them. Well-planned leave will help maintain a strong family. If families know that Airmen have invested quality time with them at every reasonable opportunity (sort of like "deposits" in an account), then they are more likely to stay satisfied when "withdrawals" occur during deployments or inspection seasons.

Well-planned leave, spread throughout the year, is a way to make concentrated deposits with your family. If you and your family are periodically recharged, then you will be much more focused when "answering the call."

If you are single and reading this, do not make the mistake of thinking it does not apply. You need to invest in relationships with individuals who are like family. Well-planned leave with them is a great way to do so.

In summary, use your leave throughout the year and don't forget to make plans with those closest to you. Your life will be richer for it, and you will be more effective for the Air Force!