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Your Air Force Association

  • Published
  • By Irene Johnigan
  • Air Force Association Cowboy Chapter 357 president
The mission of the Air Force Association is to educate, support and advocate. The AFA is dedicated to fulfilling each one of those objectives, wherever and whenever possible. AFA to me means support of that military member who puts his or her life on the line every day to ensure our freedoms.

I have spent the greater part of my life in the service of our country, and I have witnessed first-hand the leadership of those elite professionals who epitomize the core values. Needless to say, it takes a very special person to lead our military, and we are blessed with professionalism, expertise, caring and the ability to identify and solve those problems that could be very disastrous.

Your AFA is comprised of military members of all ranks and civilian members of all walks of life at all levels, who are dedicated to the support of these professionals. I was introduced to the AFA by a squadron commander whose expertise and tutelage led him to join this organization and offer his talents for the betterment of our system. I was so impressed by the programs formulated that I elected to focus my energy toward a process assuring I was involved in a program offering total support to the "blue-suiters."

As a membership-based association, it provides a community of individuals passionate about supporting aerospace and the Air Force family, with more than 110,000 members and about 200 chapters all over the U.S., Europe and Asia. I am proud and privileged to lead Cheyenne Cowboy Chapter 357. AFA is an independent, nonprofit, civilian education organization led by volunteers around this country fervent to promote public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. Their energy and dedication are what keep the association strong and relevant.

To educate the public on the importance of aerospace power, the association produces several publications, coordinates professional development opportunities throughout the year, and offers scholarships, grants, awards and public awareness programs.

For me, the AFA has been a cross-section for members that provides a network -- a way to bring together individuals who share a common interest. AFA's Web site, newsletters, professional development opportunities, special reports and other forums are up-to-date means that provide relevant information today in a world of information.

Each month, AFA publishes Air Force Magazine, one of the world's foremost defense publication journals that reaches out to the highest levels of government, industry, defense, business, academia and the media. The association also publishes its annual Statement of Policy and Top Issues, which represent AFA's position on the current and ongoing issues facing the Air Force today.

In addition, AFA conducts four conferences each year, plus many more regionally, providing a venue for senior military and government officials, industry leaders, Air Force military, AFA members and civilian personnel to exchange dialogue on challenges and successes of the aerospace community.

Realizing future generations need to grasp the impact of aerospace power today, AFA's "Next Generation" initiatives reward and recognize educators, and reach more than 250,000 elementary and middle school students each year with math, science and technology activities. In addition, AFA provides scholarships and grants to further aerospace education.

The AFA is an organization that believes in its cause. Advocating for a strong national defense, AFA remains the "Force Behind the Force:" on Capitol Hill and around the country through educational activities focused on air power issues and technology, representing the entire Air Force family - enlisted and officer, active duty and retired, Guard, Reserve and Civilian. AFA fights for veterans' issues and the protection of benefits on Capitol Hill and advocates for Air Power, keeping Airmen and their families in the forefront of the national debate.