AFSA membership makes a difference

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tim Bennett
  • 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
What if you could change one thing about the U.S. Air Force?

Would it be higher pay? What about the recent proposal to change retirement tenure from 20 years to 25 or possibly 30 (as reported in a recent issue of the Stars & Stripes)? How about keeping the main exchange and commissary on your base? These may seem like odd questions to you, but the Air Force Sergeants Association faces battles to questions like these every year.

The association is the single biggest military lobbyist organization we have fighting for us on Capitol Hill. And, like any other lobbyist group, membership numbers count. For instance, each year AFSA fights attempts to close the main exchange and commissaries in order to cut costs across the Department of Defense. When fighting an issue like this, the more members that stand behind AFSA, the more effective their voice.

Did you know that in 2009; AFSA also defeated a proposal that said even if you retire at 20 years, you wouldn't get paid until age 57? Membership numbers mattered there too.

When hearing about proposals and attempts like these to take away our privileges and benefits, it's natural to be upset and even to voice your concern. Why not put that concern in action to do the most good? Join AFSA and add your voice to help ensure that our benefits are not stripped away by Congress in an effort to pinch pennies.

Becoming a member gives us that voice we need to take action and getting various bills enacted. Throughout the year the organization lobbies for numerous bills in support of our military benefits. Currently, some of the legislations that AFSA is working to push through congress are to guarantee a pay increase for members of the uniformed services for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, of one-half of one percentage point higher than the Employment Cost Index; the "TRICARE Dependent Coverage Extension Act," to extend TRICARE coverage to certain dependents under the age of 26; the "Service Members First-Time Homebuyer Relief Act of 2009," to waive recapture of the first-time homebuyer credit for a member of the Armed Forces who sells the residence for which the member receives the credit during the 36-month period after the purchase of the residence because the member is transferred to a new duty station, is deployed overseas, or is required to reside in Government quarters during such period; and, numerous others.

For the cost of an AFSA membership, $25 a year or $350 for a lifetime, the rewards are worth it. Membership is open to all enlisted members--officers can become associate members.

As an AFSA member not only will you have the power to voice your concerns, you'll also receive a monthly issue of the AFSA magazine. The magazine provides updates on legislations that organization representatives are pushing to get through Congress every day, in order to preserve our benefits and privileges.
We urge you to let your voice be heard--become an AFSA member and let's have our issues and concerns be heard and continue to preserve our benefits and privileges.

Contact your AFSA representatives for more detailed information. Your Kunsan representatives are Tech. Sgt. Gaylord Winge and Master Sgt. Mark Cunningham at 782 -4471. The local AFSA chapter 1554 meets every third Wednesday at 4 p.m., in the Loring Club.