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.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spoke May 5 about her first four months in office, the current environment, and expectations, and how the Air Force core values relate to her own priorities.
As the 23rd secretary of the Air Force, James oversees a $110 billion budget and manages 690,000 total-force Airmen. Since assuming her duties, she has actively testified before congressional defense committees for the fiscal 2015 budget plan, visited 23 stateside bases, as well as the Southwest Asia and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where she gained understanding of the European and Africa commands’ missions.
While at Maxwell Air Force Base, she spoke with permanent-party Airmen and those attending Air University schools, civic leaders attending the annual National Security Forum and the base sexual assault response coordinator.
“The importance of the mission is obvious to this audience,” she said during an all call. “You have in your hands both the future of the officer core as well as the future of the enlisted core and making sure that as we recruit these great people, we develop them along the way.”
As Airmen begin to return from more than a decade of combat in the Southwest Asia, and cope with the perils of war, distinguishing mental health clinics as valuable resources rather than detrimental career-enders is paramount.
Although it aims to promote overall mental fitness, negative reactions toward mental health have been common in the military.
“Often times, people are afraid to come to mental health because they feel like their careers will be affected but what we want people to know is the reason we exist is so they can stay on the front-lines and continue to do their jobs every day,” said Maj. Crystal McLeod, from the 30th Medical Operations Squadron. “My goal is not to take things away or stop people from working, I need them to work. That’s why we’re here, so we can keep them in their duties.”
In addition to treating military related post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health has the capability to assist with a wide variety of ailments.
The husband of an Air Education and Training Command major represented the Air Force in the 2014 Military Spouse of the Year awards ceremony, honoring a spouse from each service.
Christopher Pape, husband of Maj. Dana Pape, AETC resources section chief, was one of six representing the services to be honored during spouse of the year award ceremony, sponsored by Armed Forces Insurance and Military Spouse Magazine.
This year, Lakesha Cole, the wife of Okinawa-based Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Deonte Cole, was selected as the overall spouse of the year.
On hand for the event were members and spouses of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as each service’s nominee for the award. “It’s a great day to be a military spouse, said Deanie Dempsey, wife of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And, thank God, we now have a day designed to honor all military spouses.
“The six spouses here today that we will be honoring – representing each of the services – has gone above and beyond what every great military spouse does,” Dempsey said.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody answered questions from Airmen, civilians and family members during his fourth worldwide CHIEFchat at the Defense Media Activity April 29.
During the open forum, an Airman asked Cody via video whether or not the reliance on distance learning is degrading the quality of training.
“I don’t think what we are trying to do is eliminate or reduce in any way shape or form the face to face time with our Airmen,” Cody said. “If anything, we are trying to create more opportunities for that.
“As an example, we are going through this transition to the new delivery method of enlisted PME, which is a blended approach … which requires all Airmen at the NCO and senior NCO roles to complete some distance learning prior to attending intermediate leadership experience or advanced leadership experience.
“The idea here is to get all the fundamentals done in the distance learning environment and bring in a certain level of competency. Then we bring them into an in-residence portion.