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Our deployed Warriors: Remember them, support them

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Airmen from Team Eglin gather together to show a typical scene in deployed enviroments during the holiday season. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Westermeyer, Command Chief, reminds people to remember our Team Eglin Warriors who are deployed during the holidays. As we enjoy this holiday season, let's remember that our family extends beyond those in our homes. Airmen united to build a tent in front of the Officers' Club and fill it with cots and other deployment items to give people perspective on the lives of the Warriors downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Stacia Zachary)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Airmen from Team Eglin gather together to show a typical scene in deployed enviroments during the holiday season. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Westermeyer, Command Chief, reminds people to remember our Team Eglin Warriors who are deployed during the holidays. As we enjoy this holiday season, let's remember that our family extends beyond those in our homes. Airmen united to build a tent in front of the Officers' Club and fill it with cots and other deployment items to give people perspective on the lives of the Warriors downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Stacia Zachary)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Westermeyer, Command Chief, reminds people to remember our Team Eglin Warriors who are deployed during the holidays. As we enjoy this holiday season, let's remember that our family extends beyond those in our homes. Airmen united to build a tent in front of the Officers' Club and fill it with cots and other deployment items to give people perspective on the lives of the Warriors downrange. Tech. Sgt. Christopher Proctor, 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Scott Gerber, 96th Security Forces Squadron, will deploy while Staff Sgts. Wendell Bowles and Chris Hart, 96th Force Support Squadron, Staff Sgt. Gilbert Galeegos, 96th SFS, Staff Sgt. Jason Edney, 96th CES, and Senior Airman Lindsay Jordan, 96th CES, have just returned from overseas deployments. Master Sgt. Stevean Davis, 96th SFS, and Senior Airman Zachary Douglas, 96th SFS, helped other volunteers set up the tent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stacia Zachary)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Westermeyer, Command Chief, reminds people to remember our Team Eglin Warriors who are deployed during the holidays. As we enjoy this holiday season, let's remember that our family extends beyond those in our homes. Airmen united to build a tent in front of the Officers' Club and fill it with cots and other deployment items to give people perspective on the lives of the Warriors downrange. Tech. Sgt. Christopher Proctor, 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Scott Gerber, 96th Security Forces Squadron, will deploy while Staff Sgts. Wendell Bowles and Chris Hart, 96th Force Support Squadron, Staff Sgt. Gilbert Galeegos, 96th SFS, Staff Sgt. Jason Edney, 96th CES, and Senior Airman Lindsay Jordan, 96th CES, have just returned from overseas deployments. Master Sgt. Stevean Davis, 96th SFS, and Senior Airman Zachary Douglas, 96th SFS, helped other volunteers set up the tent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stacia Zachary)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- There are people whose sole focus is on the holidays - planning, travelling, wrapping gifts, decorating and spending quality time with family and friends. They are the lucky ones.

For many of our service members and their families, their focus is on making the most out of the time they have before saying goodbye to friends and loved ones as well as making final preparations for their departure. Nearly 600 Team Eglin Warriors are already in harm's way.

During this hectic time of year, it's easy to forget about our deployed Airmen and those they leave behind. As we enjoy this holiday season, let's remember that our family extends beyond those in our homes. The term "Air Force family" is not just words, it's a sentiment that embraces all of us and challenges us to take care of one and other.

When trimming the tree or sharing a laugh at an office holiday party, remember we are a nation at war. While enjoying all the excitement the season brings, don't forget about the men and women who are separated from those most important to them. Continue to support them and their loved ones.

Many homes across our great nation will be saying goodbye to their loved ones as our Warriors pack their mobility bags, admirably responding to their nation's call. Many of these families will be alone for the first time, others have experienced this many times before and it never gets easier while they are gone. Our Warriors will miss many milestones - holidays, birthdays and anniversaries and a child's firsts. Make the effort to let them know they are not forgotten. Send packages, letters or e-mails reminding them they're remembered.

Think of the Warriors who're gone. While they are serving our country, they need to focus on the mission at hand. If they lose focus, lives could be at stake. It's important to help ease the additional strain Warrior's absence will create. If the Warrior is worried about home, his focus will not be on the job at hand: staying safe while deployed and coming home.

Be a good Wingman. Take the time to call our Warrior's loved ones and include them in holiday celebrations. Continue to communicate with those who are deployed. Use base programs to help alleviate additional stresses or find a support system.

Hearts Apart and Key Spouses Program, offered through the Airman and Family Readiness Center, are some of the programs available. For more information, call the A&FRC at 882-9060. The child development centers offer Give Parents A Break, an additional free daycare option offered one weekend a month for enrolled students. For more information, call the CDC at 883-7425.

Our Warriors are worth taking that extra moment to remember.

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