Air Force

March 28, 2014

Single Airman Program builds resiliency

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Airman 1st Class JAMES HENSLEY
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Brando Sompie, 56th Force Support Squadron, freefalls from 13,000 feet with a skydiving instructor during a tandem skydiving event at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The Airmen freefell for nearly a minute, reaching speeds of approximately 120 mph, or 200 feet per second, before opening the parachutes. The event was hosted by 56th FSS Outdoor Recreation Single Airman Program.

For single Airmen, both officer and enlisted, arriving at a new base means having to adjust to being away from friends and family. But there is a program designed to ease transition for these service members.

“The Single Airman Program is for the Airmen of the base who are single and want to get off the base to see the geographical surrounding areas,” said Sam Harvey, 56th Force Support Squadron Outdoor Recreation manager.

Some of the activities outdoor recreation offers are day trips, cooking classes, fitness classes, tours, hunting, kayaking and much more. Activities are offered year round and sent to unit first sergeants to let people know what is coming up.

Outdoor recreation is allotted funds for the year to spend on equipment and activities. Some of the equipment they offer includes headphones, bikes, camping equipment, GPS units, musical equipment and more. Transportation is also provided from outdoor recreation to the destinations or events.

“The only expenses not included in the price for activities are for lodging, say for a skiing trip in Flagstaff for a weekend,” Harvey said.

Airmen who have participated in the program have found it a great way to get out and experience something new.

“I got to go skydiving for a really cheap price,” said Airman 1st Class Brando Sompie, 56th FSS services. “The program was amazing. It’s really great for people who live on base and don’t have cars.”

Outdoor recreation limits Airmen to two events per year to allow for more people to have a chance to participate, but 72 hours prior to any event or activity anyone can buy into the activity, single or not, if there are still slots available.

“I’ve used the program a couple times now, and each time it has been a really fair price,” Sompie said. “It’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends, especially for people new to the base.”

While the program is primarily run through outdoor recreation, Chief Master Sgt. John Mazza, 56th Fighter Wing command chief, has oversight of it.

“The Single Airman Program is perfect for building a culture that promotes healthy and safe activities for our Airmen,” he said. “I’m excited about this initiative because it allows us to create focused retreats designed to build resilient Airmen and dovetails nicely with the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program. In the past couple months, I’ve encouraged our single Airmen to not only take the trips offered but to take an active role in helping develop trips that single Airmen are interested in.”




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