Deployed behind: thanking our unsung heroes

  • Published
  • By Col. Christopher Weggeman
  • 12th Operation Group Commander
There is a group of unsung heroes who have silently supported our Airmen and our nation as we fight the Global War on Terror 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 foundation 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 our 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." 

Their endless love, care, patience and selfless devotion to our families and our country provides our deployed Airmen the peace of mind, focus and balance needed to excel in our 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. 

To think they're just doing what's expected is to take for granted the gifts of freedom our Air Force spouses provide.

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 submit that this phrase applies more to our spouses who are 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 their life.
There are no medals for the sleepless nights spent with sick toddlers. There are no citations for the courage displayed when consoling the inquisitive minds of young children who ask those emotionally taxing questions about mom or dad's service to our great nation. Yet, their collective strength, resolve and resourcefulness makes our Air Force's expeditionary posture possible.
Our families 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 heart and souls toward achieving repetitive mission success, anywhere, anytime...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 a military member earns is equally earned by all of them, and that vital link cannot be expressed enough.
Regardless of anyone's opinion on the Global War on Terror, or the prolific expectation of freedoms rampant in America, the simple truth remains that our families 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.