Backbone versus wishbone

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Jennifer Holmes
  • Group 56 Council Member
"Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be," Clementine Paddleford once wrote.

Long gone are the days of wishing for a better Air Force. Seymour Johnson's Group 56 is making it happen. Our Air Force has drastically evolved because of the vast changes that have taken place in recent years. From the new enlisted performance report system, modifications in physical training standards, reductions in force to uniform changes and more, the question that comes to mind is, "Where's your backbone?"

"Noncommissioned Officers (NCO) are the backbone of the Air Force." Most everyone has used this phrase. Do you feel that statement is true? Are you making it a reality? With so many changes, the one entity that must remain intact is our NCO organizations that assist in promoting mentorship, development and camaraderie. The point is this, there is an organization that proclaims and acts on the conviction that noncommissioned officers have been and remain the backbone of the Air Force. That is Group 56.

Group 56 elected new council members here Jan. 27. This team of Airmen has an unwavering dedication to mentor our newest NCOs and motivate our seasoned NCOs in continuing our longstanding heritage and effectiveness as leaders. Group 56 holds true to its tradition of volunteer efforts in the community and shows leadership by teaming with other private organizations such as the Top Three, EAGLES group and MAASC exclusively to enhance the Air Force and base.

You may be wondering, "What can I do to help?" You can start by signing up to become a Group 56 member. Membership is open to E5s, E6s and those with a line number for Staff Sergeant. Members must pay dues and attend monthly meetings held every third Thursday of the month at 11:30 a.m. in the Eagles Landing ballroom.

No one can get anything done by simply wishing for change; Group 56 is here to make change happen. The group participation opportunities include assisting with promotion ceremonies, mentorship forums, Meals on Wheels, and instructing Airman and NCO professional development courses.

If you are interested in joining our team and have the backbone to make change happen, e-mail or visit

The following NCOs are Group 56 Officers:

President Staff Sgt. Willie Baker, 4th FW

Vice President Staff Sgt. Matthew Lack, 4th SFS

Secretary Staff Sgt. Arica Delph, 4th SFS

Treasurer Staff Sgt. Mary Holycross, 4th FW

Volunteer and Recognition Tech Sgt. Jennifer Holmes, 4th FW

Public Affairs Staff Sgt. Derrick Barker, 4th SFS

Membership Tech Sgt. Jennifer Fisher, 4th SFS

Historian Tech Sgt. Ayana Hodges, 4th FSS

Ways and Means Staff Sgt. Robert Head, 4th LRS