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Illinois Air National Guard's family and employers help to keep them on mission

By Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer | 182nd Airlift Wing | March 16, 2017

PEORIA, Ill. - The National Guard Bureau says that success in serving with the Guard is like a three-legged stool made up of the service member, the family and the civilian employer. If one of the legs can’t support the stool, the entire structure could collapse.

For Airmen with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Security Forces Squadron, that support is vital. For one weekend a month, two weeks a year and often much more, they put on the uniform of the United States Air Force and train to be called upon at any time, anywhere.

It is the job of security forces Airmen to provide the first line of defense for Air Force installations, assets and their fellow Airmen. Whether it be at home station in Peoria, during domestic operations in the U.S. or during deployments overseas, security forces Airmen are on-duty 24/7 to ensure law enforcement and safety.

For such an important tasking, support from outside their military lives can make a big difference.

Senior Airman Kayla Brooks, an installation entry controller, said that her family and employer’s support keeps her motivated on the job.

“The support that I get from my family and civilian employer and everyone around me really keeps me upbeat. It really keeps you motivated, really keeps me going,” she said.

Senior Airman Jeremy Waters, an internal security response force member, has a special kind of family support because he has four family members serving with him at the 182nd Airlift Wing. He said they are able to share their experiences around the dinner table and that their common military service helps support each other at the end of the day.

“I have a lot of family here on the base, so we all just kind of give each other that little nudge to keep going,” Waters said.

For Senior Airman April Winters, a security forces specialist, support equals morale and readiness.

“I can say I'm very resilient and having my family support me helps that out, because if I did not have that then it would break my morale,” Winters said. “It would break my self-esteem and having family support gives me the edge and a push to feel like I'm serving my country but I'm serving my family as well.”

Winters also said the support she receives in the civilian workplace enables her to achieve her service to the country.

“Because they support me. And if they support me they support the mission,” she said.

It could be said that the National Guard family extends outside the walls of the installation, because of the roles that families and civilian employers play in the lives of Guard members. Whether it be large or small, realized or not, the support families and employers give can actually help Guard members stay always on mission in their service to the United States.