'We'll make you famous!'

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- A number Air Force public affairs offices have been known to yell the motto "we'll make you famous!" at promotion and graduation ceremonies or other wing events.

It's a fun motto, but it can come across as bit arrogant or dishonest when you really think about it. How many Airmen do you know who have launched into international stardom because a wing PA shop did a story on them? Or, how many of us in PA have the right "connections" to even have a shot at making someone a celebrity? Not many, that's for sure.

So then how can Airmen with integrity make such a claim, even in the spirit of fun? Well, it depends on how you define "famous."

When I was a Senior Airman working on the flightline in Alaska, a couple of "nonners" (that's what we called Airmen with office jobs, of which I am now one) from PA invaded our workspace. They took some photos, did a couple of interviews and then left. We didn't think much of it for a few days, but then Friday came - the day the "Sourdough" newspaper was delivered.

Talk about a morale boost! I'd never seen so much excitement in my unit. Airmen who, the day prior, were disgruntled and complaining were signing autographs on copies of the paper and then taping them up all over the hangar with smiles on their faces. For a moment, in the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, there were some "famous" Airmen.

This kind of "fame" can be achieved at various levels from within your unit to even your home town and beyond.

I'll bet if your loved ones saw an article in their local paper about you, there'd be one more "famous" Airman that day in their eyes and the eyes of many in that town. Did you know there's a way to help this scenario happen? It's called the Hometown News Release.

Did you just arrive at a new base, win an award, or get promoted? Or, maybe PA did a feature on you. Whatever the newsworthy event may be, you can submit it on the HNR form and have that information distributed to media agencies in the areas of the zip codes you input. How would your friends and family feel if they opened up the paper and saw you?

We know you don't put service before self and do what you do everyday to be "famous." Likewise, PA doesn't exist to elevate Airmen to rock-star status. However, humble as you may be, what you do matters a lot, so why not share it with those who care about you?

The "15 seconds of fame" that might come from you submitting a HNR form does a number of great things. One, it boosts morale (admit it, you like being recognized for the amazing things you do). Two, it builds public trust and support when family, friends and everyone else gets a chance to see what you're doing to serve and protect them. Three, highlighting our mission, capabilities and dedicated Airmen is a deterrent to our enemies.

While submitting a HNR will not likely bring you fame and fortune, the appreciation and support of our friends and families is priceless. Why not do what you can to let them know what you're doing to serve them?