Support deployed Airmen and their family Published Dec. 16, 2014 By Maj. Gene T. Smith 460th Contracting Flight BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Growing up my parents always said there is no substitute for family. They are very wise, with a strong sense of family appreciation. They ingrained in me that standing and working together as a family can accomplish great things. This is something I live with every day in the Air Force. The people I work with aren't just co-workers; they are my Air Force family. We need to take care of each other in the good times and the bad. Deployments can be some of the most difficult times military members experience. Having loved ones thousands of miles away in a hostile foreign county is distressing for the entire family, especially with a deployment that is in an austere location with limited communication. It is important as members of the Air Force family to ensure continuous contact with your deployed Airmen. However, it is equally important to support their loved ones who are left behind. Airmen who know their families are taken care of can better support the mission. A squadron's critical role is the support bridge between the two. However stressing deployments are, they are important because this is the time when an Airman becomes a warfighter. They are embedded in a location where the operations tempo is higher, and more importance is put on supporting the mission. Sadly, this is also the time when the Airmen are away from loved ones and can't help out or be there for those special occasions. One of my last trips downrange was emotionally stressful for my family and me. However, the unit back home made it easier for me by supporting my family while I was gone. I was able to put a lot of my worries aside knowing that my Air Force family was there for them, and I could focus on the mission. Now that we are in the holiday season and spending time with our families and friends, it is important to remember the ones we care about. As a commander, my family extends beyond my wife and children; it extends to all my Team Buckley Airmen at home and abroad in deployed locations.