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An open letter to all Airmen, AFSA needs you

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Fellow Airmen,

I want to talk to you today about the few and the proud. I'm not referring to the fine women and men of the U.S. Marine Corps, rather I'm talking about American Airmen.

Did you know that as of last year we stand 329,638 strong? Compare that to the 582,000 average our predecessors enjoyed during the 1980s and you find we've experienced an amazing 43.4 percent reduction in force strength.

Though reduced in size, we have transformed into a more efficient force that still delivers the same element of air power to the fight. With increased physical fitness standards and ever-evolving technological advances, we are a leaner, meaner and more capable force today.

In short, no matter what type of approach our congressional leaders on Capitol Hill decide, the Airman spirit refuses to falter and refuses to fail.

Though our manpower reductions haven't degraded our capabilities from above, there is an element that is feeling the pinch - our enlisted voice on Capitol Hill. The Air Force Sergeants Association is that voice. AFSA aggressively addresses our concerns to protect our benefits directly to the leaders who have the power to (positively or negatively) affect our way of life. Concerns such as our health care, education, and retirement benefits, just to name a few, are constantly a topic on the congressional table.

Do you enjoy knowing that you can still retire with full benefits after 20 years of military service? Do you like being able to transfer your educational GI Bill benefits to your family members? And do you feel secure knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of should you pay the ultimate sacrifice? Theses fruits are from the labor of AFSA.

Though our personnel numbers are still more than that of the U.S. Marine Corps, compared to the Air Force of yesteryear, today's Airmen are also the few and the proud, and we need to make sure our voice remains loud.

It's time to take a stand, get involved and spread the word to get others around us involved. Eligibility for AFSA membership isn't just restricted to our active-duty enlisted force, the members of the Air Force Reserves, Air National Guard, civilians, family members and commissioned officers can also join as associate members.

Currently, a minimum of 100,000 members are needed to represent our voice on Capitol Hill. So, I encourage you to get involved with the Hurlburt Field AFSA - Chapter 567 and amplify the voice that brings the fight for our benefits to the steps of Washington.