Commentary

May 9, 2014

Advancing CAF through storytellers

Lt. Col. JON WHEELER
310th Fighter Squadron

Comprehensive Airmen Fitness is a key talking point in most speeches you hear from Air Force leadership. This concept has been introduced in formal training and many of our younger Airmen are very familiar with it. The purpose of this article is to introduce CAF and discuss how storytellers can help advance CAF at Luke Air Force Base and in the Air Force.

The basic premise behind CAF is that Airmen, who have a healthy balance of physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness, are more content with their lives and are more resilient when the inevitable challenge comes their way. Physical fitness is leading a healthy lifestyle with focus on exercise, rest and nutrition. Mental fitness is improved through developing coping skills, a strong self-image and a positive approach to life. Social fitness is having a sense of belonging and connection with those around us. Lastly, spiritual fitness involves having a sense of purpose. If we, as Airmen, can find a way to improve these areas in ourselves and others, we will be more successful as individuals and as a collective fighting force.

Leadership and teamwork can improve all aspects of CAF at the individual level. Airmen can support one another by motivating and holding each other accountable and fostering a supportive environment. The focus on CAF also provides a framework to improve the wingman culture. One of the best methods of supporting one another is through the power of our own personal stories.

On March 21 I had the privilege of hearing the gripping story of Lt. Col. Jeff “Tico” Tice at the 310th Fighter Squadron basic course graduation. Tice was shot down Jan. 19, 1991, during the third night of Operation Desert Storm and spent the next 45 days in captivity, enduring torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s soldiers and the Baath Party.

As I reflect on this story and the reactions I heard from the audience, it occurred to me that everyone who heard his speech became a bit more resilient. By telling his story, he put all of our problems into perspective. This aided the audience in focusing on the positive aspects in their lives. To put it in CAF terms, I think mental fitness improved a bit for each of us that heard his story.

Not every Airman has been a prisoner of war or has a story of getting shot down like Tice, but there are several of us who do have a story of coping that we are willing to tell. These stories can offer myriad lessons that can better the mental fitness of others. A story can make someone who listens feel less isolated or give them some ideas of how to cope in an analogous situation. Personal stories add the human element. This element makes the lessons shared more memorable.

If you look on the Air Force Portal, you can find information about “Storytellers.” This is a program designed to allow Airmen to share their own experiences with an audience. There is a guidebook that walks leadership through tips on how to effectively set up a formal storytelling forum for Airmen. I recommend that we at Luke use this program either at the squadron, group or wing level to further our collective CAF and inspire Thunderbolts to be better people and wingmen for each other. Never underestimate the power of your story.




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


 
 

 
Samuel Price

RMO, stakeholders keep eye on sky

Samuel Price The road used to get onto the Barry M. Goldwater Range lies beneath the running water July 9, 2014, that resulted from monsoon rains. With data from the additional recently installed weather stations, personnel wil...
 
 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 

 

Air Force OSI agents prevent online exploitation of children

QUANTICO, Va. — Child sex crimes are not unique to any particular base but are a perpetual problem across the Air Force and society. Online exploitation of children continues to be a problem and is routinely investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As part of this effort, AFOSI field units have partnered...
 
 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

MDG appointment line upgrade Patients calling the 56th Medical Group at 623-856-2273 Wednesday afternoon to schedule an appointment may reach a busy signal and may have to call back if all booking agents are on the line with other callers. The queue function allowing patients to wait on hold for the next available booking agent...
 
 

Airmen get T-bolts to give blood, win award

Tech. Sgt. Alisa Frisch, 56th Medical Group unit training manager, and Capt. Sharlott Uriarte, 56th Medical Support Squadron, were among the top 3 percent of award-winning blood drive coordinators recently honored by United Blood Services, earning a Hero Award for providing the largest impact on the blood supply. Of the 1,080 organizations that sponsored blood...
 




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