Commentary

March 14, 2013

Resiliency combats challenges

Tags:
Commentary by Retired Chief Master Sergeant Vincent L. Howard
355 Fighter Wing Community Support Coordinator
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths)
Members of the Desert Lightning Team cheer on a fellow Airman during the Wingman Warrior Day 5K at here last year.

The challenges faced by Airmen are many. Beyond the immediate physical threats generated by deployments, our Airmen must deal with the mental and social effects of being in a high-intensity, stressful and dangerous environment, sometimes for months at a time.

These same deployments often force spouses to become “single parents,” due to the myriad of challenges deployments produce. For our Airmen and civilians alike, service to our nation can often result in homesickness, loneliness, culture shock, undesirable assignments, long hours, the stress of learning a new job, the departure and rotation of close friends and a myriad of other stressors. All of these factors stress the need for resiliency. But with every new program, there are questions that must be answered.

Why have we initiated another Air Force “program” that will take time away from our critical mission priorities?

The Air Force is not instituting a program. Rather, our great service is acknowledging a culture that will inspire Airmen to view difficulties as challenges, not paralyzing events or a negative reflection on their self-worth.

A culture of resiliency is not PowerPoint slides and canned training, but an environment that results in increased commitment to yourself, your personal and professional relationships, your friendships and the great nation you serve. Resilient behavior means that you feel more empowered, powerful, and increasingly confident. Resiliency is not an Air Force program; it is a significant, positive quality that makes for better Airmen, better wingmen and better citizens.

 

Why are we investing our precious time, attention, and energy to such a seemingly common sense endeavor? 

We are investing our time to this effort, because there is true greatness in each of us, and the United States Air Force cannot afford to let any of us forget it, regardless of the challenges we face or the failures we seem to encounter. Embracing resiliency teaches us to always “get up” and keeps us on the lookout for our fellow Airmen.

Michael Jordan locked himself in his bedroom and cried when he was cut from his high school basketball team, but he got up. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas, but he got up. The Beatles were rejected by Decca Recording Studio, because executives didn’t like their sound and proclaimed. “They have no future in show business.” They got up. We invest our time, attention, and energy to this endeavor to give our Airmen and civilians, the opportunity to realize personal greatness. Our Airmen and our Air Force benefit when that happens.

 

Why are our efforts being directed to something that does not affect how we conduct our primary mission?

Embracing resiliency absolutely impacts our mission accomplishment in a positive way. Just like you don’t wait until you get sick to start eating right and exercising; just like you don’t take the car in after its already broken down; we do not and cannot afford to wait until challenges, failures, and tragedies occur to begin discussing resilient behavior strategies.

We’ve always faced challenges. The Air Force has long embraced enhancing community and individual resilience as a leadership principle, but now it is actively and aggressively emphasizing its importance. Every new first term Airman receives 10 hours of training focused on acknowledging successful resiliency strategies and behaviors. We’ve identified dozens of master resiliency trainers and resiliency training assistants to assist our commanders, Chief Master Sergeants, first sergeants, and supervisors in bringing our community atmosphere to a high level of resiliency and keeping it high.

Winston Churchill said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

The intent is to bring resiliency strategies to D-M by incorporating it into focused leadership sessions and ensuring our entire community embraces this philosophy, including spouses and family members. We plan to discuss resiliency strategies during our quarterly Comprehensive Airman Fitness days and professional development seminars, at lunch and learning seminars, and within our units at every opportunity. The base’s leadership, including our trained resiliency experts, are committed to resiliency not being seen as a program, but as an essential part of how we lead, how we follow and, for those who are already strongly resilient to both life and military challenges, how we take care of each other as wingmen.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — In our increasingly secular world, there is a growing misunderstanding that it is safer to say “Happy Holidays” during the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza season, than to name the specific holiday which you or most other people celebrate. I am always drawn to explore these interesting dilemmas. I once read a...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

Asking for help is sign of strength not weakness

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Growing up I was a big fan of Muhammad Ali. He was the world heavyweight boxing champion and unashamedly referred to himself as “The Greatest.” I vividly remember a reporter asking Ali, “When did you know that you were ‘The Greatest?’” Before Ali could answer, the reporter offered, “Perhaps it was...
 

 

“Little people like you make Christmas better”

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — “It’s little people that make the difference. Little people like you.” The fictional character Frank Shirley pitched his “little people” Christmas message to Clark Griswold in the 1989 movie “Christmas Vacation.” Although demeaning in a comical way, the little people reference is seen over and over in classic Christmas stories. Litt...
 
 

Thanksgiving and our Native Americans

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — On the fourth Thursday of every November, we as Americans celebrate the national holiday Thanksgiving. This day focuses on honoring the early settlers, and their harvest feast, which we know to be the “First Thanksgiving.” However, long before settlers came to the United States’ East Coast, the area was inhabited by...
 
 

Keep safety in mind when cooking Thanksgiving feasts

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  Every year hundreds of Americans die, thousands more are injured and roughly $500 million...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin