Daughter, Sister, Airman

by Senior Airman Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

I am an Airman in the U.S. Air Force. I am also a niece, cousin, sister and daughter.

My family isn’t the largest out there, but it isn’t the smallest either, and every last one of them means the world to me.

My childhood was filled with joy, kindness and discipline when warranted. But most of all it was bursting with more love than anyone could ever hope for.  I would do anything for my family, because they are my rock and my foundation.

By joining the Air Force, we all knew it meant I wasn’t going to be home for holidays, birthdays and other major milestones and that I could end up being stationed half way across the world for a long period of time, which is exactly what happened.

I hit my three-year mark two months ago and have been serving in the Air Force for nearly 1,200 days, and less than 30 of those days has been spent at home with the ones I love.

The last time I went home was due to my grandmother passing away. She was my last living grandparent and the only one to see me fulfill my dream of joining the Air Force.

It was because of the support from my Air Force family that I was able to get a flight home for the memorial service. Not even being on U.S. soil for a full six days, it was heart-wrenching to leave my grieving family so quickly.

As soon as I stepped off the plane back in Germany I was surrounded by my friends and co-workers, who assured me I wasn’t alone during that time. Keeping me busy by taking me to dinner, my friends kept my mind off of things by giving me the latest gossip and, ultimately, lifting my spirits.

My entire Air Force career has been exceptional. With a great job and even better assignment, I truly can’t complain. But if I get frustrated at work when things don’t go as planned, when I feel like I am getting in trouble or even when I am having issues with my relationships (people do realize there is a “read receipt” on Facebook right?), sometimes I can’t talk to my immediate family right away. That’s where my Air Force family has proved time and time again that they are always right beside me. They will never be able to replace my family back home, but they provide a healthy alternative.

Coming up on the holidays, I think about being back home with my family more than ever. It has now been roughly a year and a half since I have been home, and the third time in a row I have spent the holiday season away from my loved ones.

It’s hard to be away for so long, but I know I can always turn to my family here to help cheer me up and keep me fit to fight. Last year all my friends had a huge Thanksgiving dinner together, spent Christmas day cooking and playing board games, and went to Berlin for New Year’s. We may not be blood related, but we are all family nonetheless. We joke and laugh with each other, and we
even complain and bicker. They are my Air Force family, and they have gotten me through the good times and the bad.