Commentary

July 13, 2012

Resiliency: A challenge at any pay grade

By Chief Master Sgt. Kurt Schmidtman
57th Operations Support Squadron

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Promotion to chief master sergeant is often seen as one of the ultimate accomplishments in an enlisted members’ career. Yet as a Chief, it can seem like one is expected to be impervious to outside pressures simply because we have years of experience in dealing with personnel issues of every description.

In my experience, proud Air Force members of every age and grade stoically absorb every manner of stress until there is an event that makes the “water rise above the nose.” Then, and that is still a maybe, Airmen might seek help.

I discovered the hard way this is the wrong approach.

My tenure here is my only experience as a Chief. Upon arrival from Aviano Air Base, Italy, with my wife and high school graduate daughter, we were greeted with a break-in to our only automobile, resulting in the theft of my PCS briefcase. This had our medical records in it.

Then, we purchased of a lemon of a used car, and experienced the shock associated with acclimating to the USA via a downtown high rise apartment in Las Vegas.

This was compounded by the loneliness experienced by my daughter and by her anxiety about heading off to college, which coincided with my spouse’s disappointment in being undervalued following her obtaining her bachelor’s degree in a depressed economy.

I took this all in and factored my own “shock and awe” at the Air Force responsibilities I was assuming, along with some moderate financial issues our family was facing, and slipped, ever so gradually, into depression.

My reaction to depression was a shutdown of what seemed to me to be “non-essential” efforts, in deference to keeping a grip on the most important aspects of my life: my family, followed closely by the U.S. Air Force.

Unfortunately, the “non-essential” effort I chose was staying physically active. Without a corresponding change in diet, I ballooned to an unacceptably heavy state, which literally made it difficult to tie my shoes. This trend was a real threat to my career and in result, to my family.

From this low point, my family and my chain of command, with the help of Air Force programs, united to save me from myself.

My family encouraged me, without being a pain, to make changes and gave me extended encouragement for minor victories.

The chain of command gave great support while holding the line, maintaining standards. It was very therapeutic knowing that neither my or the unit’s integrity ever came in question.

Counseling and fitness programs further aided me in making the life changes, which culminated in my losing 40 pounds, cutting 5 inches from my waist, reducing my run time 3 minutes and improving my relations at home immeasurably.

Now, my service to the Air Force has never been sweeter.

I hope no one else has to travel down this road to visit the lows that I have. Instead, I simply ask that you take my word that early identification and becoming a willing participation in the management of problems may give you great satisfaction without the burden of my experience.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 FightingFalcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat sce...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar

Lessons learned: Deployment exercise gives new insight

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar Master Sgt. Nicholas Alessi, New Horizons engineer 820th RED HORSE Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., lays block at the Edward P. Yorke school construction site April 9...
 
 
CMSAF1

CMSAF Cody visits Nellis Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James A. Cody speaks to 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen about surveying equipment July 17, during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Cody visited various units to experience first-han...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika

Dempsey takes reins of NTTR

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, passes the Nevada Test and Training Range guidon to the new NTTR commander, Col. Thomas E. Dempsey III, during a c...
 
 
1000-hours

Pilot reaches milestone, achieves 1000 flight hours

Maj. Matt Allen, a 706th Reserve Squadron full-time air reserve technician who is assigned to the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron as an F-22 test director, stands by an F-22 Raptor before flight July 21, at Nellis Air Force B...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Fuels management flight takes on Red Flag 14-3 full force

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Daniel Millard, 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels journeyman, prepares to fuel an aircraft participating in Red Flag 14-3, July 22, at Nellis Air Force...
 




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