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Let’s go clubbing!

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- "Here we go again. Another sales pitch for the club," you mutter under your breath as yet another senior leader comes as close to telling you to join the club as they can without issuing an order.

"Why should I? I don't ever go there unless I have to," you think as they drone on. "Let the club go the way of the dinosaurs. No one uses it anyway."

Does this sound like something that's taken place at some point in your Air Force career, whether you've been in for twenty years or twenty minutes? If so, you're not alone.

So, why the big push from leadership to join the Air Force Club? It's likely because they know from their personal experiences what it's like to have and not have clubs at various locations throughout the world. They know first-hand the club is only as good as we make it and it will go away if we don't use it. 

"There are so many things out there that benefit club members whether you're renting items to be used for events at your house or paying a great price for a buffet meal," said Lt. Col. Ken Dewlen, 366th Force Support Squadron commander. "The bottom line is this: if we don't use it, we're going to lose it."

"But, I don't want another credit card I'm not going to use except to pay my club dues," you might say.

Fair enough. Then just view it as a simply a membership card, or consider what benefits you might find in using it responsibly. Dues for enlisted personnel are as little as a dollar a stripe.

"I understand the stigma of having another credit card, but I believe the benefits outweigh the negative in reference to what you gain from being a member versus not being a member," said Dewlen. "It's only up to you how much you charge on your credit card. Just like with any credit card, you have to be smart about it.

"But, it's also about what you're saying about your job, and the culture of our Air Force," continued Dewlen. "There is a lot of history and culture the Air Force has in reference to having a club to go to. Again, if we don't use it we lose it."

Being a member doesn't just help the club stay in business. Revenue from the facility goes into a base Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund translating into more for you and your families to do. The club hosts events such as Airman Leadership School and Community College of the Air Force graduations as well as annual awards ceremonies.

"The more club members we have the more special functions we can offer and the better and more affordable the events can be," said Rino Caruso, Gunfighter Club assistant manager. "Here at Mountain Home Air Force Base, we extend club member discounts to the bowling center and golf course as well."

Even though the Air Force has to cut costs in numerous ways because of budgetary woes, it's within our power to enable our club and other services to be vibrant and readily available.

"The services we all enjoy such as the club, library, golf course, bowling center and Outdoor Recreation all use what are called 'non-appropriated funds,' meaning they're self-sustaining," explained Col. Chris Short, 366th Fighter Wing commander. "The DOD does not pay for these services to stay in business. Using these facilities is one way to make sure those who come after us can enjoy them too, but club membership is also a way to ensure the longevity of these great facilities and the events they offer."