Editor’s Note: The following is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 355th 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.
Chief of AF focuses on resiliency in 2018
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright said he feels the Air Force is headed in the right direction concerning education and enlisted-force structure, but Airman resilience is an area that needs more attention.
He’s starting the new year with that focus, he told the crowd during an all-call in the Polifka Auditorium at Maxwell Air Force Base Jan. 10.
“What I’m most concerned about, and where my priority will be in 2018, is the area of resilience,” he said. “I still feel like there’s work to be done. I want to get out there and spend more time and energy this year getting after what’s causing our Airmen to be less resilient. What’s causing us to have less of a wingman culture?”
His desire to see the Air Force go back to more of a “wingman culture” stems from strong personal relationships that helped him get through difficult times. He said support from fellow Airmen and building a strong sense of resilience is key to what he predicts will be a tougher operations tempo in the future.
Mission success – Manage stress
Stress is an inevitable part of life and military life in particular.
Nicole Mayzner, 403rd Wing psychological health director, said not all stress is negative, and the problems with stress usually arise when it is ignored and continues to build.
“It is very important to practice stress management and determine the techniques that work for you because unaddressed or unmanaged stress typically comes out negatively and can have a significant impact on overall health, relationships, mood and sleep,” Mayzner said.
Physical issues can include headaches, sleep disorders, upset stomach, increased blood pressure and weight gain or weight loss. Mood issues can include anxiety and short temper or increased irritability, depression and inability to focus or be motivated. Changes in behavior can include social withdrawal, increased drinking, outbursts and less time taken for positive self-care like exercising or healthy eating.
Stress is often increased for Reserve Airmen and their families when they are preparing for, undergoing or returning from a deployment.
Mission success – Create balance
Finding balance and fulfilling all of life’s demands can be difficult for anyone, but reserve Airmen have an extra layer they weave into their lives. This layer involves giving away one of their weekends every month, completing rigorous training and being prepared for the potential to have to drop everything else to serve their country.
Lt. Col. Edith Cobb, 403rd Wing judge advocate, is also an attorney at a two-person international agricultural law firm and travels from her home state of Texas every month to complete her reserve duty.
“You have to stay on task,” Cobb said. “Organize and prioritize and figure out what needs to be a priority at which time. If you don’t keep that balance something is going to happen, and you’re going to let something fall that needs to be done.”
Nicole Mayzner, 403rd Wing director of psychological health, said it’s important to understand that balance does not mean every aspect of a person’s life receives equal attention.
Air Force officer-led team to investigate physiologic events
A general officer-led team will integrate and coordinate efforts to address aircrew Unexplained Physiologic Events, the Air Force announced in late January.
Brig. Gen. Bobbi Jo Doorenbos will lead the UPE Integration Team, which will serve as Headquarters Air Force’s focal point for identifying solutions to optimize human performance in tactical aviation and eliminate or minimize the impact of UPEs.
A physiological event occurs when aircrew experience symptoms that can result from a variety of factors, including hypoxia, hypocapnia, hypercapnia or disorientation. These symptoms can hinder their ability to fly safely and effectively.
“As part of the integrated effort to address physiological events, the Air Force is providing more resources to understand UPEs, standardize response actions to such events and assess options for more robust aircrew training to recognize and respond to these events,” Doorenbos said. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent UPEs.”
Historically, rates for UPEs are low. However, heightened awareness has increased aircrew reporting of in-flight physiologic symptoms. This drives aggressive response actions from the Air Force and joint partners to address these events and implement recommendations to make operations safer.