AFSA – An organization for everyone

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Anyone who knows me knows that I can be very outspoken and passionate. Sometimes that can be good and sometimes not so much. One of the great discoveries in my Air Force career was an organization that allows me to exploit those traits in a positive way. That organization is the Air Force Sergeant’s Association, or AFSA. AFSA is a beautiful, professional organization that is focused on the enlisted. Allow me to explain and my hope is that when you are done reading this article you will be inspired to join me in this amazing venture called AFSA.

AFSA is specifically focused on issues that affect enlisted Airmen and their families. AFSA regularly meets with members of Congress, Headquarters Air Force and senior government leaders to advocate for fair and equitable benefits. As a federally-chartered Veteran’s Service Organization, AFSA is one of the few military associations that can lobby our congressional and military leaders on Capitol Hill. That is an awesome feat that has reaped incredible benefits for all of our enlisted to include guard, reserves, veterans and retirees!

I would take up the whole paper if I tried to cram all of the accomplishments that AFSA has had since its inception back in 1961. Instead, I will focus on just the last year. AFSA’s powerful voice in Washington, D.C., ensured a 2.4 percent pay raise instead of 2.1 as requested by the Department of Defense. AFSA blocked the “with dependent” rate for dual military families. AFSA won a provision for equal treatment for reserve pre-mobilization health care. AFSA resisted TRICARE life enrollment fees, increased TRICARE cost-sharing payments for retirees and TRICARE enrollment fees for active-duty family members. There are 10 other major legislative impacts from 2017 that I can’t fit in this article.

If that doesn’t get you pumped up, then maybe the following will. AFSA is both engaged locally as well as being global. There are 129 AFSA chapters worldwide. The local chapter is the “Big Sky Chapter,” aka Chapter 1156. The chapter president is Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Mills and he is “in the game.” The chapter participates in events such as the Memorial Day service at Highland Cemetery. They also provide professional development and speak at Veterans Affairs events, Malmstrom Airman Leadership School and the first-term Airman’s center. We have booths at events like First Friday and the base picnic. We support the Great Falls Public Library and the Boy Scout’s food drive. We accomplish fundraisers and have monthly meetings to come up with new ideas. Most of all we need you to come and participate.

If you are an Airman or a leader of Airmen then this is an organization for you. If you are passionate about Airmen’s needs and want to make sure our Airmen are taken care of then this is an organization for you. For 31 years I have been passionate about our Air Force. This organization has given a voice to that passion and I hope I have inspired you to join. There is so much more to learn and share so please take the time to go out to http://www.hqafsa.org/ and see what else this organization has to offer. If you want to learn more about your local AFSA chapter you can reach out to Mills at 731-3746, Staff Sgt. Leslie Diebler at 731-4065, or myself at 731-2431.
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