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AFSA: Your membership matters

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We all want to belong. For some of us, this desire to belong is what made the Air Force attractive, motivating us to serve. For our ancestors, belonging to a group meant strength, which meant survival. The same could be said for us today. Membership in a group means strength in numbers and gives us a sense of community.

Just like in the civilian sector, we in the military have many professional organizations we can join. These organizations have like-minded people working for a common goal. In these groups you can make a difference.

Some are based on rank such as the Airman Advisory Council, 5/6 Organization, and the Top III. There are other organizations like your squadron booster club, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Air Force Association. It is up to you to decide where you want to devote your time and which organization is the best fit for you. Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why says what we do is proof of what we believe. Find the organization you believe in. Vote with your name; your membership.

One professional organization I am a member of is the Air Force Sergeant's Association. Ironically, you do not have to be an NCO to be a member. AFSA has a long history of taking care of all Airmen, whether active duty, guard, reserve, or retired. AFSA provides me a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of teamwork and belonging.

It also provides me with an opportunity to network with people that share the same interests. AFSA has been committed to the Air Force Enlisted Village since it was established in 1967. Being a member of AFSA and working with the Air Force Enlisted Village provides a feeling of satisfaction that I am doing my part while giving back to the community.

Most importantly, as a member, AFSA speaks for me on Capitol Hill. This is why I joined AFSA in 2005; to remind our elected officials of the sacrifices that our Airmen make every day and fight for the protection of our benefits. AFSA legislative representatives educate Congress about the military and fight for our best interests.

They have fought for our pay and allowances, SGLI, SBP, tuition assistance and the Post 9-11 GI Bill. The AFSA lobbyists are working hard speaking to congress on behalf all of their members. The voice of AFSA is only as strong as its membership.

The professional organization you join is up to you - your membership matters. Contact your supervisor or First Sergeant and find out about the organizations available to you.