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Service before self...a family affair

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Travis Edwards
  • 344th Air Refueling Squadron commander
The Ravens of the 344th Air Refueling Squadron directly support the 22nd Air Refueling Wing's mission by delivering mission ready Airmen, skilled in KC-135 Stratotanker operations to combatant commanders ... "Anytime, Anywhere!"

Our squadron performs this mission with what appears to be great ease, but time spent away from home can be a challenge to our crewmembers who must also continue to excel in the wing's mission while away from their loved ones.

How do we continue to support the warfighter without fail?

We live the core values ... Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do. The core value that is fundamental to our squadron's resolve is "Service Before Self."

Have you ever really reflected on what this value means? What about the sacrifices of our families? To perform at our maximum potential, it is critical that we continue to recognize the importance of family members to the success of our Air Force.

The core value of service before self resonates throughout our squadron. The Airmen in the 344th ARS spend an average of 180 days per year on the road supporting combat operations, higher headquarter taskings, air refueling support for newly designed aircraft and numerous other taskings. Our ability to step forward ... anytime, anywhere, requires great sacrifice. We approach our craft of flying airplanes with great pride. We understand that our squadron motto "Anytime, Anywhere" ties directly into the wing's mission

What I've noticed in my first month of command is truly special; that our Raven family members live the same core values as our own Airmen do.

I've seen service before self on display first-hand from our family members. Spouses have volunteered for increased roles in the squadron while their loved ones are deployed. These spouses support our squadron family in addition to their own families while their loved ones are away from home; this sacrifice is a great example of families placing the needs of our nation over their own, truly embracing the spirit of service. Likewise, single members of our squadron receive love and support from their extended families, as well as our squadron family here at home. The selflessness of extended family members, from near and far, allows the men and women of the 344th ARS to deploy with less stress and remain focused on the mission at hand because of the great support received from the Raven family network.

The Ravens wish to thank our family members for their outstanding efforts to support our wing's mission. Truth be told, our Airmen and family members are all intertwined and critical to our nation's success.

The 344th ARS understands the importance of family to day-to-day operations. Our Squadron wouldn't be able to execute our mission with such precision and ease if our Airmen didn't have the love and support of our families.