Feature Search

The enlisted voice

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Hicks
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Members of Chapter 1560 Air Force Sergeants Association here ensure the voices of Airmen are not only heard on Capitol Hill, but their presence is felt in the local community.

AFSA, a non-profit organization that represents the interests of Air Force members, maintains a presence on Capitol Hill to promote enlisted concerns to enhance quality of life and assure the preservation of entitlements earned through service and sacrifice.

There are currently more than 110,000 members around the world supporting AFSA. Chapter 1560 is 385 members strong, with 60 of its members joining since the beginning of the year.

"Our main goal at the local level is to spread the word about AFSA and what it means to the enlisted force as well as the retirees and spouses," said Staff Sgt. Ashley Black, AFSA Chapter 1560 secretary and member of the 36th Maintenance Squadron.

AFSA is not only seeking new members to amplify their voice in the legislative scene, but they also need members to help support the local community through their volunteer efforts.

Throughout the year the AFSA chapter here volunteers by cleaning the United Service Organizations center every other month and a World War II site. They also recently got the responsibility of maintaining a local bus stop.

"One of Chapter 1560's goals is to help to enrich our local community," said Master Sgt. Garrett Toomas, Chapter 1560 AFSA president and a member of the 734th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron "By donating a small percentage of our time, we'll in turn help to make a difference in other people's lives in our community. Our community is not only defined as Andersen, but off base as well."

The organization holds fundraisers throughout the year and the proceeds go toward base-wide morale events, Community College of the Air Force graduations and new memberships for Airmen.

"Gaining new members is very important," Toomas said. "To maintain that voice on Capitol Hill we must have at least 100,000 people in the organization. Having this many members open doors for us that wouldn't be open if we wasn't such a large group."

Each year Congress and the Department of Defense make hundreds of decisions on issues that directly affect the lives of enlisted members. These issues include medical care, job security, education benefits and more.

The president of the local chapter added if he could choose any private organization to be a part of, it would be AFSA.

"What separates us from all the other private organization is the legislative issues and protecting quality of life in terms of sequestration and budget cuts," Toomas said. "This organization directly affects the things that my family and I love."

Air Force active duty officers and enlisted personnel, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, retirees, veterans and family members are all welcome to join AFSA.

For further information about AFSA or how to join, contact Master Sgt. Cesar Medina, AFSA chapter 1560 membership chairman, at 366-2247 or visit AFSA's website at www.hqafsa.org.

All AFSA meetings are held in the Airman Leadership School every third Wednesday of the month at noon.

Social Media