Supporting Military Retirees

  • Published
  • By Brigidier General O.G. Mannon
  • 82nd Training Wing
Recently, wing commanders across the Air Force received a letter from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz asking us to make sure we are doing all we can to support our military retirees.

He wrote: "Our retired volunteers are a select group of Wingmen. They have gone before us, embodying our core values of Integrity, Service and Excellence."

I couldn't agree more. We have nearly 4,000 military retirees living in our area, and we must be committed as a community to provide the support these Airmen have earned through their service.

We're fortunate here at Sheppard to have a robust and active Retiree Activities Office, headed by retired Master Sgt. James Esther, Jr. The office does an outstanding job making sure our retirees can easily access the services available to them, and Master Sgt. Esther has expressed to me his gratitude for the support he gets from the many agencies on base that help him answer questions and resolve problems they face.

We are doing well in meeting the Chief of Staff's charge to care for our retirees, and I thank you for all you do to support them. I also ask that you continue to support these Airmen, who still serve in so many ways.

Less than 10 percent of Americans now living have ever served their country in uniform, and fewer still have served long enough to qualify for retirement. No one understands the meaning of such service better than we do, and no one should honor it more.

Remember that many of us will someday be retirees ourselves, and that we are now training the generation of Airmen who will provide support to us in our retirement. This is truly a "cast your bread upon the water" effort--the respect we show to our retirees now will in large measure determine the level of respect we will receive as retirees.

To our retirees, thank you for your past service in uniform to our nation, and for your continued service as retired Airmen. Your volunteer efforts and continued support make so many things possible at Sheppard that could not happen without you. You are a great example to those of us still on active duty; may we be wise and selfless enough to follow in your footsteps.