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Guam ANG 'family' supports each other, mission

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

For most military members, the biggest sacrifice of military service is being away from loved ones. Countless birthdays, holidays and anniversaries are spent in other parts of the world.

While there is no replacement for family and friends, Airmen from the 254th Force Support Squadron have managed to bring the feeling of family into the work place.

Garrido is part of a five-man team deployed from the Guam Air National Guard’s 254th Air Base Group, to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in support of RED FLAG-Alaska 17-3.

“I’m very fortunate to have these Airmen by my side,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicolas Garrido, the 254 FSS team lead. “We’ve been working together for more than ten years. We know how the other works and their style of management; it makes the job so much easier.”

Over the years, team members have learned each other’s personalities, strengths, weaknesses and interests which the Airmen unanimously agree has contributed significantly to their success.

“We know each other so well that sometimes we don’t have to say anything. Everything is second-nature; we already know what the next step is without being told,” he said.

Other team members, like Staff Sgt. Jericha Laanan attribute their ability to communicate to mutual respect and their shared cultural background.

“We were all born and raised on Guam. We were taught the importance of respect, hard work, and being an example of kindness and hospitality…these are values and morals that naturally come through in our work and our attitude,” she said. “We already share a bond as Chamorros (Native people of Guam), and we share a bond as military members, too.”

With more than a decade spent working together at home and abroad, Garrido says the challenges of military service are always there but the friendships gained in the process are irreplaceable.

“We’re really close; it really is like a family. We’re there for each other on and off duty. Our families know each other. That’s something I’m proud of,” he said.

As this iteration of RF-A winds down, the team is getting ready to part ways with their Air Force family and reunite with loved ones back home, but plans to see each other again, are already in the works.

“We already have something planned for when we get home. We’ll bring the family back together soon,” Garrido said.