Thanking our unsung heroes

  • Published
  • By Col. Christopher Weggerman
  • 12th Operations Group commander
There is a group of unsung heroes who have silently supported our Airmen and our nation as we fight the War on Terrorism whose sacrifice, service and heartache too often go without recognition or respect.

These heroes are the spouses and family members of our warriors who have selflessly created the bed-rock from which our nation launches its virtuous defense of our constitutional freedoms.

To all of you I personally say thank you. Most people know the general details of the deployed environment and mission we must endure, but too few words are spoken regarding the absolutely fundamental mission carried out around the clock on our home front by all of those we "deploy behind."

It is their endless love, care, patience and selfless devotion to our families and our country, which provides our deployed Airmen the peace of mind, focus and balance needed to excel in their undertakings when serving halfway around the world.

No one has spent endless hours and dollars training our spouses to accomplish what it is they do every day when "deployed behind", holding down our home fronts and accomplishing our family's mission, no matter what. No one solicited their service, or informed them of the trials and tribulations they must endure. Anyone who says, "they're just doing what's expected" hasn't a clue, and more than likely takes the very gifts of freedom our Air Force spouses provide for granted.

In today's Air Force environment of fiscal conservatism, recapitalization and off-the-chart operations tempo, one often hears the phrase, "we must do more with less." I contest this phrase applies more to our spouses, deployed behind and forced to support and provide for our families without their proverbial soul mate, sounding board, rock, center, companion, husband, wife, dad, or mom home to share in this great inexorable experiment we call life.

There are no medals or citations for the sleepless nights spent with sick toddlers, or for the courage displayed when consoling the inquisitive minds of young children who ask those incredibly astute, yet emotionally taxing questions about mom or dad's service to our great nation. Their collective strength, resolve and resourcefulness makes our Air Force's expeditionary posture possible.

Our spouses provide us all with clear minds and unwavering confidence in knowing harmony and stability reign supreme at home. The pillar of strength they provide allows Airmen across the world to commit 100 percent of their hearts and souls towards achieving repetitive mission success, anywhere, anytime, thus preserving our service's global monopoly on Air and Space supremacy!

Their cause is extremely difficult and selfless but above all else, righteous. They embolden our service and preserve the prosperity of our families and our nation. Every medal or award their spouse earns is equally earned by each of them, and that vital linkage cannot be expressed enough.

Regardless of anyone's opinion on the war on terrorism, or the prolific expectation of freedoms rampant in America, the simple truth remains our spouses bear the burden of untold sacrifice, and in my eyes are the unsung heroes of our time. It is with immense gratitude, pride and honor that I salute their service to our Air Force and our nation.