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Have you called home lately?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John VanVorce
  • 755th Air Expeditionary Squadron First Sergeant
I want to personally thank you for your honorable service to our nation and my sincerest gratitude to your families for their sacrifice and support to our Air Force.

Another year and decade has ticked by. Ten years ago I was a technical sergeant select in North Carolina, a proud new father, my sister was expecting her first child, and I was moving my family to the west to be stationed in Arizona. I was leaving the comfort or the known and heading out to a part of the country that 10 years earlier might have well have been on another continent.

I left a team of great friends and peers doing what we were good at and loved to do -- getting the fighters in the air to make the ground shake and deafen you with the roar of takeoff.

Thinking back, I can remember each year and each milestone my team accomplished. I do realize that without the support of my family, most importantly, my wife Angelica, it would have been much more difficult to be part of that team. She allowed the Air Force to take me away to all parts of the globe and never once asked "Why." She only said "be careful and call me when you get there." Not too much to ask...a simple phone call to tell her that there's no need to worry; all is good.

As we are located here in a hostile part of the world, sometimes communications are delayed or we get so busy focusing on getting the mission accomplished that we may forget the foundation of our lives is patiently waiting for the phone to ring or the e-mail box to ping. Those may be a boy/girlfriend, wife, husband, parents or siblings. The local news media is what they may fall back to, hoping to catch a glimpse of a region or base and capture something that they can relate with you on.

News outlets are quick to report the loss of Americans and initial reports give generalities like "a US base in the south" or a "base located in Helmand province." The unknown can cause a lot of stress, especially if your family and loved ones don't know what you are up to because you may have forgotten to make a simple call. Fear of the unknown ... hatred of the unknown ...anxiety builds. We are all plagued by these, but logic reason and communication can provide release.

Take a few minutes to let your family know how you are and reconnect. A call from you to your loved ones is like a ray of sunshine to them.

Life to me is about loving what you do, taking care of each other, and supporting and loving all who are in your life. I know my wife, Angelica, has a big job now that she singlehandedly takes care of the running the home, watches out for and develops my 15-year-old son, Zachary, (let me tell you about karma some day) and my sweetheart 10-year-old girl, Hailey. A simple five-minute call makes their day and makes me feel that I can do a small part in helping out.

American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Haley summed up what I'm saying with one simple line, "In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future."

I'll sum it up as, "If you need phone cards go see your unit first sergeant."