AFSA is the only Air Force enlisted organization dedicated to the people behind the stripes. We are all enlisted grades of Air Force Active Duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command, retired veteran, and family members. We are the men and women who have a long and rich heritage of being the force behind the high-tech machinery, a well-educated decision-making force, people who make procurement recommendations, and we are those who work on systems and platforms and assist in research and development of America's superb airpower. We are the people that have invested their lives in the cause of freedom.
Each year, Congress and the Department of Defense make hundreds of decisions on issues that directly affect the lives of enlisted people and their families. These important issues include medical care, job security, pay, commissary privileges, education benefits, et al. There was a time when the voice of the enlisted Airman was nowhere to be heard - until the Spring of 1961 when a handful of individuals came together to form the Air Force Sergeants Association in San Antonio, Texas. AFSA is an international organization based in metropolitan Washington, D.C. dedicated to speaking out on behalf of the people behind the stripes; with nearly 120,000 members, AFSA has led the way on both Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon, and in the White House. We have earned the recognition and respect of our Nation's leaders for our sustained role as the "Voice of the Total Air Force Enlisted Force." The AFSA mission at the headquarters level is to advocate improved quality of life and economic fairness that will support the well-being of Air Force enlisted members and their families.
AFSA currently consists of 142 active chapters around the world with 120,000 members. Organizationally, AFSA is led by volunteers at the 142 chapters, 14 Divisions, seven direct reporting chapters in the Pacific, and an International Headquarters located at 5211 Auth Road, Suitland, Maryland (about 5 minutes from Andrews AFB). The Airmen Memorial Building houses the entire International Headquarters operation along with the Airmen Memorial Museum (AMM). There is a paid staff of 31 dedicated professionals at the headquarters to serve the members on a daily basis. The recently upgraded AMM is a showcase of enlisted heritage with artifacts maintained by a curator dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of our enlisted corps throughout the many years of their service.
Communications is the key to AFSA keeping its world-wide membership informed of activities on Capitol Hill. AFSA publishes its own professional magazine, SERGEANTS, six times each year and is widely respected for its content. The AFSA Enlisted Almanac, published each Jan/Feb, is widely sought after for research and useful information by officer, enlisted, and their families. Additionally, AFSA has its own highly respected website and a weekly Newsletter published every Friday with timely information affecting all its members. AFSA also maintains a toll-free hot line with daily messages on the latest events on Capitol Hill; everyone is encouraged to use this free service at 1-800-638-0594.
AFSA "educators" (i.e., lobbyists) continue to inform members of Congress, the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Education, Health and Human Services, and the White House of the sacrifices that our enlisted members and their families make on a daily basis. From fighting for full pay and allowances to cost of living allowances, retirement benefits of every component of the Air Force, educational benefits, training opportunities, and force development/assignments. Several other areas where AFSA has been influential in the past several years include but are certainly not limited to:
Freeze of any TriCare premium costs Increased allowances and reduction of out-of-pocket expenses during PCS moves, particularly for enlisted members Increased pay and allowances and benefits for lower grade enlisted members Approval of enlisted flyer incentive pay Approval of enlisted hazardous duty pay for specified job specialties Increased component health care, pay and compensation, and quality of life benefits for reservists and their families Continued protection of military stores (commissaries and exchanges) Retirement pay protection Appropriation of Impact Aid for education of Air Force children in local school districts and with the DODDS Transferability of educational benefits for active duty military family members Enhanced voting opportunities across the world
AFSA's leading role on Capitol Hill was best described by Senator John McCain(R-AZ), who stated "I often call AFSA when a tough legislative job needs to be done. For over three decades they've been an extremely effective and respected presence on Capitol Hill. AFSA educates those members on Capitol Hill who have never served and perhaps don't fully understand the sacrifices the enlisted members of the Air Force, the Reserve and National Guard make to protect our great nation.
AFSA hosts an annual Professional Airmen's Conference and it is truly a "signature" event. Within that annual gathering of the senior enlisted leadership from the Air Force, Guard and Reserve communities, AFSA members and their families meet to discuss internal operations, conduct elections of volunteer officers, get updated presentations from highly respected civilian and military decision-makers, members of Congress, and host the highly respected Air Force Honors Banquet. The Air Force Honors Banquet provides the professional venue where awards are presented to outstanding enlisted members from across the spectrum of career specialties.
In 1983, AFSA founded the Airmen Memorial Foundation (AMF). This separate organization sponsors several major programs including the AMF Scholarship Program and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Scholarship Program.
As mentioned earlier, AFSA also maintains the Airmen Memorial Museum in its headquarters building. The Museum was founded in 1988, and it is dedicated to the heritage and accomplishments of the enlisted force. It is a public museum and admission is free. For more information about AFSA, the AMM, the Airmen Memorial Foundation (and its scholarship benefits), please contact us toll-free at 1-800-638-0594 or 301-899-3500 and on the internet at www.hqafsa.org. You can also write to us at 5211 Auth Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746.