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The essentials: Your chain of command and other resources

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- You have a question and getting the answer is imperative. Who do you ask or how do you find the answer?

One of the most important aspects of military life is learning the answer to this question.

An Airman's chain of command can be one of the most helpful resources during his or her career.

I haven't served in the Air Force for a long period of time, but I have come to realize the necessity of knowing where to take my questions and curiosities. Though at times my direct supervisor may not consistently know the answer to my queries, it is a mere matter of a phone call or visit to someone who could contribute to finding the information I am looking for.

Does your direct supervisor have the information you need? If not, try asking around your office or shop. If they don't know, take it to your first sergeant. Still baffled? If the issue at hand holds high importance, then take it to your squadron commander, group commander and when all else fails, you may call the Commander's Action Line at 247-5705.

Through all of these avenues, an answer to your burning question is sure to rise to the surface. But in the mean time, you may also take action and research the subject on your own.

This may be most of the most effective ways to expedite getting a response. There are many web sites that can assist you in your journey of answering all of life's questions, or at least questions that have to deal with life in the Air Force.

An example of such a resource is the Air Force portal. On the portal, you can find information via the virtual Military Personnel Flight, which consists of records, assignment, decorations and promotion information among many other topics; Air Force Virtual Education center, which is comprised of all things that deal with educating yourself while in the Air Force; Air Force e-Publishing web site, which contains Air Force forms and publications; an abundance of travel, finance and fitness resources; and many other avenues for information obtainment.

Other examples of sources of information include the Air Force Personnel Center Military OneSource, Air Force Crossroads and USA.gov, among an assortment of additional resources.

Most often, someone has the answer. If they don't, hopefully someone can assist you in finding what you're looking for, or you can take action into your hands and do a little investigating into the subject of uncertainty. The point is you should never be at a loss when searching for the answer to a question.

(This commentary is the second in a series about essential functions of the military.)