Letter to Airmen: Thank You to Our Great Air Force Family

  • Published
  • By Barbara and Michael Wynne
  • Secretary of the Air Force
Barb and I just returned from the AOR. Below is a special message from her:

Dear Airmen,

I have just returned from an incredible trip to the AOR with my husband. I met many Airmen and family members from all across the Air Force. Every Airman was so impressive, dedicated and proud to serve our country. Thank you for all you do for our Air Force!

Serving during this time of conflict, you have joined the elite group of courageous Americans who have defended our way of life in times of trouble. Your patriotism will shape the rest of your life. You are destined to become the future leaders of our communities, our Air Force, and America. Each of you is a hero!

You have handled the challenges thrown at you, as my husband says, in "adaptable and flexible" ways. You find creative solutions to solve problems everyday, whether it's aircraft repair, managing distribution of furniture for households, or streamlining vehicle registration. Work everywhere is faster and better thanks to you. And you are just as excited about quality of life improvements such as Balad Air Base's "Read for Your Child Program." Your professionalism shows in all you do.

Throughout this past year, I met many of you at our CONUS and OCONUS bases. During my first travels to the Pacific, I witnessed firsthand your dedication to the mission in Guam, Korea, Japan and Hawaii. You are ready at a moment's notice to deploy and do what you have been trained to do.

Being so far away from home, whether at bases such as Kunsan, Misawa, Balad, Lakenheath, Ramstein, or Ali Al Salem, I am pleased to see you take advantage of the quality of life programs that the Air Force provides. The fitness centers and services areas are jam-packed with Airmen staying in shape, and planning and taking part in shows and activities that help make the time away from home bearable.

The talent and volunteerism of our Airmen is incredible. We have volunteer personal trainers to help their buddies, and artists who decorate walls of dorms, rocks in the desert and barriers around compounds. All of these great Airmen are donating their time and energy to make our bases better and improve quality of life in their communities.

We visited the hospitals in Balad, Landstuhl, and at Walter Reed. It is a privilege and inspiration to have had the honor to hold the hand of our wounded servicemen and women from all of the services. Each of you are in our thoughts and prayers everyday! We will certainly never forget what has happened to you and we are committed to helping each of you come back strong. The doctors, nurses and technicians are the cream of the crop. Their expertise, saving so many lives, is the silver lining to this conflict. It truly is the "Miracle of Iraq and Afghanistan."

At those bases where families accompany you, I met your wonderful spouses. Your families are so supportive and understanding. They truly make a difference to you and our Air Force. They are the bedrock upon which the Air Force is built. Their continued dedication to our Airmen in incredible. There are so many programs they facilitate, such as making holiday cookies and providing dinners for spouses of deployed Airmen. They always have your best interests at heart.

I have met your children and they blow me away! They are so proud of their moms and dads. From the darling babies and toddlers in the Child Development Center to the poised, bright middle schoolers who showed me around their schools - you can be very, very proud of them. Our future will be safe in their hands.

As this year draws to a close and we look to a new year, I am truly honored to have had a chance to meet so many of you. You have left an indelible mark on my heart and I will keep you there always. Thank you for serving in our Air Force and protecting this great Nation of ours. Wherever your path in life leads you, my husband and I wish the very best to you and your families. Be safe this holiday season - we want you back!

Very sincerely yours,
Barbara Wynne

Again, Barb and I wish you and yours the very best this Holiday Season!