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.

Connection saves lives: Be
there to help prevent suicide

You can make a difference for someone struggling with suicidal thoughts with as little as eye contact and a friendly smile, an arm around the shoulder, or a kind word at the right time.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide, a key theme of the Defense Department’s #BeThere Campaign, which encourages making a difference through every day connections.

“Connection saves lives,” said Col. David Linkh, Air Force Suicide Prevention Program manager. “Isolation, alienation and feeling a lack of belonging places folks at risk.”

Suicide is a major public health concern in the U.S., and for the Armed Forces. One of the most important and simplest ways to fight back against this threat is to build connections with people in your life, and make sure that people don’t feel alone and isolated.

“If a fellow Airman seems to be struggling, make simple gestures,” said Linkh. “Have lunch with them, talk to them and include them. Ask them how they are doing, or about their family. Stop by their desk and share a little bit about yourself.”

386th AEW mental health team
builds bonds, shatters stigmas

It can start with a simple conversation. “How are you?” “Yeah, I bet you see some crazy stuff at your job.” “That must have been really hard for you to process.”

What at first seems like a run-of-the-mill conversation, stemming from a friendly visit, is more than meets the eye. It is a check-in. It is non-invasive, and it is from a friendly face that is just there to learn more about what Airmen do, and ask how they are.

It’s the art of human engagement, and it is practiced by the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group mental health staff.

The 386th EMDG mental health clinic consists of two staff members: Capt. Bradley Ervin, the mental health clinic officer in charge, and Staff Sgt. Jessica Moore, a mental health technician. Realizing the operations tempo of the deployed environment here, Ervin and Moore proactively conduct unit visits for preventive care and mental health education.

“When we get out to the units, we are checking in on the members and meeting them in an area that they’re more comfortable in,” said Moore.

Understanding AF enlisted
evaluation board process

The Air Force promotion system promotes the most fully qualified noncommissioned and senior noncommissioned officers based on the quality of their records and other weighted factors, while recognizing an individual Airman’s potential for advancement to the next rank.

Enlisted evaluation board panels consider more than 35,000 promotion records each year. For Airmen holding the rank of technical, master or senior master sergeant, the Air Force Personnel Center plays a pivotal role in promotion cycles.

Possessing a general understanding of the enlisted evaluation board process is vital for Airmen promoting to the senior NCO tier.

Board-eligible Airmen can view their Data Verification Brief, located in the Virtual Military Personnel Flight, 120 days prior to the board convening date. These dates are published and made available to Airmen via myPers. The schedule of dates can be found by selecting “Promotion” from the left side of the myPers enlisted page.

Application window opens for
AF undergraduate flying training

Application packages for the next undergraduate flying training selection board are due to the rated officer assignments branch of the Air Force Personnel Center by Nov. 17, 2017.

The board, set for Jan. 22 through 25, 2018, will consider active-duty officer applicants to attend training as early as spring 2018. Those interested in becoming a pilot, combat systems officer, remotely piloted aircraft pilot or air battle manager are encouraged to apply.

“The Air Force continues to review opportunities to strengthen the force,” said Capt. Devin Stone, UFT board administrator. “Some initiatives are force-wide; others, such as encouraging eligible active-duty officers to partake in flying training, are more targeted. All have the same objective.”

Stone said implementing these initiatives will strengthen the Air Force’s competitive position in the battle for top talent.

All UFT applicants must be certified as physically qualified by Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Office of the Surgeon General, Physical Standards.

Additional information about specific requirements, eligibility criteria, process and other details can be found on myPers. Select “Active Duty Officer” from the dropdown menu and search “UFT.”