by Airman 1st Class Joel Pfiester
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
1/28/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Members of Team Whiteman participated in a resiliency-focused down day at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Jan. 26, 2015.
During several 509th Bomb Wing all calls, Brig. Gen. Glen D. VanHerck,
509th Bomb Wing commander, challenged members of Team Whiteman to
evaluate ways to mitigate cases of suicide and to identify precursors of
someone who might be contemplating taking their own life.
"We need to reinvest in our people," VanHerck told a crowd at one of the
seven all calls held throughout the day. "And that starts with all of
us and how we communicate with one another, how we treat one another,
and how we look out for another. Look to your left. Look to your right.
That's your Air Force family and we need to always have each other's
best interests at heart - both on- and off-duty."
VanHerck also reflected on the base's many accomplishments over the last year with a goal of refocusing and building the team.
"It is not about me and it is not about you," VanHerck explained. "It's
not about yesterday - it's about today. It's about tomorrow. And it's
about us - this team right here. Together all of us will continue to
refine the way we do business and to do that, each of us needs to be
innovative in how we tackle both recurring problems and future
To make his vision for the 509th BW a reality, the commander stressed
several different concepts, including improving interpersonal
communication and not walking past a problem.
"Too often we see a problem that may not necessarily be our own," he
said, "and we fail to take action. That needs to end and it needs to end
now. I want us all to own the problems we see and to take steps to fix
them. So if you see a problem, make it your problem. Take the necessary
steps toward combating the problem and own it."
VanHerck also explained that throughout the installation, there are drop
boxes available for individuals to submit their ideas openly or
anonymously as to how the wing can better prepare its members for all
the challenges they face.
"I want to know what you think," said VanHerck. "I want to know if you
don't have the proper training or the proper resources. I want to know
if you're not getting the time you need to focus on our core
responsibilities - our mission, our people, and our families. I want to
know if there are ways we can accomplish our mission more effectively
and efficiently and give more time back to you. You're the folks that
can tell me so I can own these problems too and work to fix them."