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Everyday Air Force community

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- On a street corner in Louisville, Ky., Thomas Merton experienced a realization of connectedness with strangers around him. In his journal, this monk and writer compared his experience to waking up, and he cared for others in a new way. However, different from Merton, those in the Air Force may have felt just the same. This happens not only, for examples, at Basic Military Training graduations or fallen comrade ceremonies, but also on any day like any other. A sense of community is available to Air Force members as part of a way of life. Quarterly award winners from the 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron below illustrate aspects of participating in and encouraging the community the Air Force offers us.

The Air Force sets up the conditions for extending community. Members get a mission, the obstacles that go along with it, and the team of coworkers with whom to succeed every day. Airman 1st Class Paul Bickert, formerly a 90th MOS Vehicles and Equipment Section technician, was impressed to see people from across the maintenance group work together in vehicles and equipment "rodeos," the final checks before an inspection, and he remembered wing and group leaders there showing support.

Staff Sgt. Jon Huff, 90th MOS Mechanical and Pneudraulics Section Team chief, gave another example from a recent three-day dispatch: "The bad part was being away from my family. The good part was the seven people on the team completed the launch control center inspections and learned a lot from training. The crew has a safe environment on alert."

A common mission connects us. In turn, connectedness fuels mission accomplishment. Capt. Jordan Tabayoyon, 90th MOS Training Flight commander, highlighted, "Particularly in the ICBM area, every function closely must work together to ensure we meet standards. That takes a great deal of coordination and trust." The mission-essential culture of compliance with standards is just one side of a coin, where the other is the culture of respectful treatment and trust needed for bringing up when there's any non-compliance.

In both functional areas and as part of the Air Force, we join in a larger sense of community across time, "faithful to a proud heritage," as the Airman's Creed says. Master Sgt. Dwayne Mayberry, 90th MOS Mechanical and Pneudraulics Section NCO-in-charge, described the bond with members of his career field specialty: "We have a strong fraternity, letting all [2M0]X2s know they are part of something larger than themselves. They are part of a heritage of excellence and must reflect that in every maintenance action they perform. This kinship transcends the work place into everyday life, and every X2 knows he or she can count on the others in a time of need."

The most backward compliment for an Air Force member is, "I didn't know how much people cared until X happened." X could be anything tough. The community and the ability to support already existed, ready to tap into, but the member previously didn't know it was there or didn't trust it. Taking more opportunities to prove we're there for each other, even imperfectly, is a never-ending challenge. The Air Force men and women looking around in an everyday moment and seeing others as a community are participating in one of the greatest experiences the Air Force has to offer.