Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Operation Supplement Safety keeps Airmen healthy
For peak performance, Airmen should eat healthy and exercise regularly. But in the quest to gain an “edge,” many Airmen resort to dietary supplements.
Enter Operation Supplement Safety, or OPSS. This Defense Department educational campaign, accessible at www.hprc-online.org/opss, educates the warfighter and healthcare provider on responsible dietary supplement use.
While some supplements, such as multivitamins, are generally safe, other supplements can pose a hazard to health and jeopardize careers from adulterants that cause a positive urine drug screen.
“One third of Airmen report using legal bodybuilding supplements and one in six report weight loss supplements in the past year,” said Col. (Dr.) John Oh, the chief of health promotion for the Air Force Medical Support Agency. “Body building and weight loss supplements, as well as sexual enhancement and diabetes supplements, are high-risk categories that should raise red flags.”
Ephedra is a cautionary tale of a problematic dietary supplement. Heavily marketed as a supplement to help improve athletic performance and promote weight loss, serious health events, including deaths first reported in the military, led the Food and Drug Administration to ban ephedra in 2004.
AFSA conference encourages, informs Airmen
The strength and impact of the NCO corps was the theme of the night as Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning was keynote speaker during the Air Force Sergeants Association Convention and Professional Airmen’s Conference banquet Aug. 28.
Several guests of honor attended the annual event, including Gen. Phillip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody; and Cory Etchburger, the son of Chief Master Sgt. William Etchburger, who was recently posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor; and several former chief master sergeants of the Air Force.
Fanning spoke about the necessity of AFSA to help senior leaders understand the scope of their decisions on Airmen. As the former deputy under secretary of the Navy/deputy chief management officer, he expressed his excitement about being part of the Air Force and constantly learning about the complex global missions supported by Airmen every day.
Program gives Airman chance to attend academy
Each summer at the Academy, a new group of basic cadets march in formation for nearly eight miles from the Terrazzo to Jacks Valley.
There, for nearly two weeks, they endure rigorous training and learn to survive and operate as a team in a field environment.
For most cadets, this represents their initial basic training experience and the beginning of their path to becoming an Air Force officer, but a few cadets in each class have taken the long road to Jacks Valley.
In early 2012, Senior Airman Leah Young stood in the back of the room during the annual awards banquet at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs office, her role was to document the ceremony.
Young listened as Col. Richard Moore Jr., the wing’s vice commander, took the stage for the night’s closing remarks. After congratulating the award recipients, he shared a few words about his time at the academy.
“When I graduated from the academy, my class color was silver,” the colonel said, “and when Lieutenant Young graduates from the academy, her class color will also be silver.”
Passport, VISA mandatory before overseas PCS
The number of Airmen and families moving overseas without the proper passport or VISA is increasing, according to Air Force Personnel Center officials.
This costs Airmen time and money during a permanent change of station, and it’s a waste of Air Force funds as well.
“Airmen and family members who PCS without the required passport or VISA are being stopped at immigration and are not allowed to enter a country or being deported shortly after arriving in country,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Hall, operations support division superintendent.
To help amend this issue, military personnel sections must ensure Airmen and family members have the proper clearance documents in hand prior to final out-processing. Otherwise departure is not authorized.
“Military personnel sections, passport agents and service members must ensure Passport and VISA requirements are initiated within 15 days after completing their initial assignment briefing,” Hall said.