Benefits of becoming an Air Force Sergeants' Association member

Airman 1st Class Rene Rudolph, 819th RED HORSE Squadron member, and Col. H.B. Brual, 341st Missile Wing commander, prepare to sign membership applications to join the Air Force Sergeants’ Association on June 7.  The AFSA’s next meeting is scheduled for June 29 at 11 a.m. at the Grizzly Bend.  (U.S. Air Force photo/ John Turner)

Airman 1st Class Rene Rudolph, 819th RED HORSE Squadron member, and Col. H.B. Brual, 341st Missile Wing commander, prepare to sign membership applications to join the Air Force Sergeants’ Association on June 7. The AFSA’s next meeting is scheduled for June 29 at 11 a.m. at the Grizzly Bend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ John Turner)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The Air Force Sergeants' Association, a federally chartered non-profit organization, was founded May 3, 1961, and has gained more than 50 years of experience as well as 111,000 members across the globe.

According retired Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Ledoux, AFSA president, "AFSA's primary mission is to educate, advocate and persuade congressional leaders to take on causes to benefit its members."

AFSA has become a crucial, pivotal voice of the military on Capitol Hill. As a member of the Military Coalition, AFSA has been instrumental in protecting members' benefits by educating lawmakers on the importance of military presence as well as honoring the sacrifices of veterans and their families in support of the nation's defense. By doing so, AFSA advocates on issues such as health care, education benefits, pay increases and more. Not only does AFSA influence a number of legislative bills geared towards its members, the organization also serves as "watch dogs" to ensure changes in existing Air Force benefits stays minimal or remain unscathed.

AFSA's accomplishments would not be possible without the effort and contribution of its supporters. The organization relies solely on its members and volunteers to continue taking care of Airmen. Chapter 1156 is the only AFSA organization that represents the state of Montana. In addition to having a voice on Capitol Hill, members also enjoy a variety of benefits such as discounted travel, insurance, electronics, college tuition and more. Currently, there is an AFSA team fighting for the continuation of military retirement pay.

Throughout the years, AFSA has continually remained a major supporter of the Air Force and its programs. AFSA continues to honor and acknowledge Air Force leaders by sponsoring hundreds of awards such as the Pitsenbarger and First Sergeant of the Year awards. The organization's countless contributions extend to dependents, as well as the local community. AFSA has contributed more than $1.7 million in scholarship funds benefiting Air Force families. Additionally, the organization financially supports all of the 141 State Veterans' Homes and 55 Fisher Houses caring for military members and their families on a monthly basis. Some of their good will has gone toward organizing the collection of thousands of pounds of non-perishable food items and winter clothing, which were donated to Great Falls homeless shelters. The chapter also covers and maintains a two-mile stretch of Montana highway through a partnership with the Adopt-A-Highway Program.

Anyone interested in joining the AFSA can attend the next general membership meeting. It will be held at the Grizzly Bend on June 29 at 11 a.m. Each person who attends will receive a $1 coupon off a Prime Rib dip sandwich and side. All are welcome to attend.