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F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- Many military members belong to private organizations for financial support or leadership opportunities.

One might belong to the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club or other organizations but it is organizations like these that make a difference in their perspective areas. The NRA lobbies Congress to protect rights of citizens in exercising the Second Amendment, and the Sierra Club is America's oldest and largest environmental organization. Both organizations have lasting impacts. Without the support of millions of Americans, these organizations would not be worth the printing on their Internet homepage.

The Air Force Sergeants Association, the Noncommissioned Officers Association, the Air Force Association and the Retired Enlisted Association are just a few nationwide organizations that have been around for years that focus on military issues.

As military members, these private organizations can have a lasting effect on us as well. Some members of these organizations lobbied for a 3.5 percent military pay raise for 2008. This raise is half a percentage point above inflation and an effort to bring military in line with civilian wages. These organizations also lobbied Congress to deny severe increases in Tricare payments and co-pays.

Warren has organizations that assist base morale and offer leadership opportunities. The Company Grade Officer Council supports Operation "Warren Cares," a deployed spouse's network, that helps with work around the house and offers numerous professional growth and development opportunities. The Chiefs and Sergeants Major Group provides mentorship and professional growth to enlisted members within the Cheyenne community and provides scholarships to military members and their dependants. The First Sergeant Council conducts monthly wing promotion ceremonies and facilitates support for military families in need during the holidays. The Warren Top 3 sponsors the Wing Quarterly and Annual Awards, the annual senior NCO induction ceremony, and the annual POW/MIA vigil. The Rising Six, an organization made up of airman basics to technical sergeants, is dedicated to professional growth of Airmen and NCOs. This new organization has made an impact on the wing with sponsorship of the technical sergeant and staff sergeant release celebration, cell phones for military program, Retiree Appreciation Day, and the Arrive Alive designated driver program.

All of these local private organizations have impact on our military community and provide numerous leadership opportunities. There are a handful of people at most bases that you will always see involved in wing activities. This core group does not do it for personal gain; they do it because there is a need and others are may not get involved. This goes the same for the international private organizations; they need help as well.

Are you a member of your Warren private organization and a member of at least one international military private organization? Who is going to represent your best interests in front of Congress or assist in you and your subordinate's professional growth and development? If you care about your future, the future of your subordinates and the future of the Air Force, get involved.