Family: what sets us apart

  • Published
  • By Col. David W. Robertson
  • 513th Air Control Group
When I talk with family, friends and our active-duty counterparts about the Reserve, the topic almost always comes around to how we are different than the active duty. In many ways, we are no different, especially here at an associate unit like the 513th. We fly and maintain the same E-3s (albeit at a much higher rate of experience and excellence) and have the same training requirements as the active duty. Although, most of the 513th does this on a part-time basis, this is not inherently what makes us different.

What makes us different is FAMILY. While the active-duty component experiences a certain level of esprit de corps, by nature of constant PCS's it is transitory.  Many 513th folks have been together since our inception in 1996, and we have a strong history of taking care of each other exactly like we are family.

Over the last few months the 513th has experienced some challenging times. We've had to deal with budget cut proposals that can create an atmosphere of uncertainty. We've also had the unfortunate loss of one of our OSS personnel as well as a couple of serious off-base incidents.

For these reasons we will stand down on Sunday to emphasize help available through the Air Force and to talk about ways we can make our 513th family stronger even in the face of adversity.  I encourage all of you to access the Wingman Toolkit online at or download the Wingman Toolkit app for your smartphone. It has information and contact numbers for all types of help and support.

However, the main reason we are standing down on Sunday is to look each other in the eye and see how we are doing. The main way we can take care of our 513th family is to get involved in each other's lives. Know what is going on in the lives of your peers and those you supervise. Be nosy!

Good families always want to know what's going on with their family members. Be open to each other. Be good listeners. Know where and how to offer help. Offer respect and encouragement. And yes, be a good wingman.

It is my intent to make sure the 513th and our families are the strongest and healthiest they can possibly be regardless of the challenges we face. If the 513th family is strong and healthy, we will be ready when our nation calls.