Military News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's time to 'own it'

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 challenges."

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."

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