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Last Saturday, my two oldest daughters and I went to a Laughing Pizza concert at the Cox Capitol Theatre in Macon. Laughing Pizza is a family band made up of the husband and wife team of Billy Schlosser and Lisa Michaelis and their daughter Emily. Their “Pizza Break” videos can be seen on Public Broadcasting stations around the country, including Georgia Public Broadcasting. They are talented and charismatic performers and we had a great time. You would think my thoughts would be far from the military at a concert like that, but three songs got me thinking about our men and women in uniform.

1. “Daddy”: Some years ago, Billy had a corporate job that had him traveling the world. Lisa and Emily wrote a song to express their feelings for him while he was away. The words are those of a little girl to her father, but they speak to the emotions of any person separated from a loved one. As I listened to the music, I thought “This is a deployment song” and my mind filled with images of Air Force personnel and their families, such as these:

Maj. Cheryl Greentree comforts her daughter, Morgan, and son, Ryan, during the family's farewell at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (USAF photo by MSgt Kimberly Spencer)



After returning home to Misawa Air Base, Japan, SSgt Dennis Horlador embraces his newborn, Natyala. Sergeant Horlador missed the birth of his daughter while deployed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (USAF photo by SSgt Rachel Martinez)

Shuji Gillis, age 3, is overcome by emotion as he welcomed home his father, Capt. Kouji Gillis. The captain is assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB. He was also greeted by his wife, Yuki, and 1-year-old daughter, Momoka. (USAF photo by SMSgt Tom McKenzie)

There are tens of thousands of our military personnel deployed around the world at any time. Those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen miss their families. But they signed up to serve their country and so they leave their families and do what they’re asked to do.


2. “Plumpy Nut”: Laughing Pizza performed a song about Plumpy Nut, a peanut-based paste that is used to treat malnourished children. As Lisa gave the background on the song, I wondered, “Has the Air Force delivered Plumpy Nut?” If the US Air Force hasn’t delivered Plumpy Nut to a disaster area, it has delivered just about everything else. Of all the Air Force’s remarkable roles, the humanitarian mission is the one that I personally find the most interesting and inspiring. Whether it’s using air power to fly humanitarian aid to disaster victims around the world or rescuing American citizens in our own cities, the Air Force brings tremendous capability, flexibility, and experience to the table. Here are some examples:

Jim McIlrath from Warner Robins, Ga., drives a donated fire truck into the cargo hold of a C-17 Globemaster III guided by aircrew members from the Air Force Reserve Command's 315th Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. The 315th AW C-17 landed at Robins AFB, Ga., Dec. 30, 2010, to pick up the fire truck and medical supplies bound for Managua, Nicaragua. (USAF photo by SSgt Alexy Saltekoff)



SSgt Manuel Chacon pushes a pallet of halal meals off a C-17 Globemaster III that carried them Aug. 2, 2010, to northwestern Pakistan. These meals are some of the 345 thousand that have been delivered since July 31, 2010. (USAF by Capt. Chris Sukach)

Combat controllers talk to aircraft circling the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 23, 2010. The Airmen are from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. In the initial days of Operation Unified Response aircraft were landing every five minutes. (USAF photo by Desiree N. Palacios)

A C-17 Globemaster III delivers pallets of water and food Jan. 21, 2010, over Mirebalais, Haiti, to be distributed by members of the United Nations. The aircraft is from the 437th Air Wing out of Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (DoD photo by TSgt James L. Harper Jr., USAF)

TSgt Lem Torres and a young boy are lifted to safety from the roof of the child's flooded home. The pararescueman is from the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and was deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina search-and-rescue operations (USAF photo by SSgt Manuel J. Martinez)

3. “This is My Life”: For this song, Lisa stepped down off the stage and walked among the children in front of the stage asking them questions about what they like to do and what they want to be when they grow up. She used the children’s answers in the song. As the catchy tune filled the theatre, again, for some reason, my mind filled with images of Air Force people, each saying “I am an American Airman—this is my life.”


Rather than include some images here, I invite you to visit the Air Force’s photo archive and click on “People.” On the right side of the page, click “On the job.” There are over 1,100 pages of photos. Click on any page and you’ll see some of the faces of our Airmen, serving in an amazing variety of jobs.

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