Celebrating 75 years of Airmen helping others with AFAS

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lane T. Plummer
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Aid Society celebrated its 75-year anniversary here, March 10.


The AFAS is the official charity of the U.S. Air Force has been meeting the unique needs of Airmen and their families since 1942. AFAS works to support and enhance the USAF mission by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support, and community programs.


Celebrations were held at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center for families to come together in a large forum, and the event reminded people of the many different ways the AFAS helps Airmen and their families, said Wesley Yancey, 86th Force Support Squadron exceptional family member program and family support specialist.


“The celebration of 75 years of the AFAS is an opportunity for Airmen and their families to reflect on what it means to take care of one another,” Yancey said. “The mission of the AFAS reflects what is written in the Air Force creed, ‘I will never leave an airman behind.’ Today, we honor the AFAS and its dedication to ensuring that Airmen who need help have a place to turn to. There couldn’t be a better way to share this milestone of service than to give a little more back to the community.”


Families were provided information not only on what the AFAS does, but its history and accomplishments for the past 75 years.


Older than the Air Force itself, AFAS traces its roots back to 1942. General Henry H. Arnold had a vision of an organization that embodied the idea of Airmen helping Airmen, and it still drives the Air Force’s mission across the world today.


The long-running society helps Airmen and their families with emergency assistance, education support, and a plethora of community programs for them to become involved with. At Ramstein, their role takes a unique role in the form of being far away from home, says Leroy Olson, 86th FSS community readiness consultant.


“There are many unique challenges the men and women in uniform face on a daily bases here at Ramstein,” Olson said. “We deal with high deployment rates, life in an overseas community, and the high cost of flying back to the states in case of an emergency. AFAS can potentially provide an interest-free loan and community programs to help offset those unique challenges one faces when living overseas.”


Helping Airmen is the singular philosophy driving everything at AFAS. According to their website, more than 50,000 assists and nearly $15 million in direct help through emergency financial assistance, education support, and community programs has helped Airmen across the world.


Giving to others has served as the foundation for a culture that spans for 75 years, and to become a part of that, all one needs to do is educate oneself and take action.


“There are several different ways people can donate to AFAS,” said Juli Robertson, 86th FSS community readiness specialist. “One time donations can be made by phone or online at afas.org/ways-to-give, or a monthly reoccurring donation can be set up through either the Five Star Circle on the website or during the Combined Federal Campaign. Donating to AFAS is a great option because for every dollar donated, there are three dollars providing help to Airmen and their families. Our Air Force family has proven again and again how important helping each other continues to be.”