by Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr.
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
4/29/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Airmen
from Air Force Global Strike Command, and its numbered air forces and
wings formed a Resiliency Tiger Team here, March 31 to April 1.
Created to empower Global Strike Airmen, the Resiliency Tiger Team
provides an outlet for airmen to voice their ideas on combatting real
life issues with realistic resiliency techniques. Ultimately, the team
wants Airmen of all ranks to be prepared for hard times before they
happen by seeking assistance from peers and leaders, and carefully
contemplating how to respond.
"Airmen were selected by AFGSC command chiefs," said Tech. Sgt. Gina
Scott, 90th Missile Wing Security Forces Squadron NCO in-charge of
resource protection at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. "They wanted
personnel with different perspectives from different bases to come
together and provide ideas on how we could come up with a good
foundation on reducing the number of suicides in the Air Force."
Candid discussion with peers plays an essential role in resiliency, not
only in how to personally deal with obstacles, but also how to help
other Airmen reinforce their mental, physical, social and spiritual
domains when they're in need. Airmen divided into two facilitated groups
to work through key issues by brainstorming better ways to cope with
and alleviate stress, suicidal ideations and many other struggles that
people face. The schedule was intentionally packed to maximize the
Airmen's time and ensure that no stone was left unturned in the arena of
resiliency. The capstone event had each group present their findings
and recommendations to Command Chief Master Sgts. Terry West, AFGSC;
Marty Anderson, 8th Air Force, and Tommy Mazzone, 2nd Bomb Wing.
Through a series of ideas, a resounding theme appeared--improved
communication between Airmen and their leaders.
"The key component is fostering open lines of communication," said Staff
Sgt. Anna Bailey, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force
Base, Montana. "If I'm not comfortable telling you about where I've been
and the struggles I've been through, how are you going to be
comfortable speaking with me?"
Team members challenged themselves and others to become more engaged
leaders and to help others build relationships with their supervisors
and peers to foster open lines of communication.
"Set your Airmen up for success so they can know what to expect from
you," Scott said. "It also gives the Airmen a chance to tell their
supervisor what they're about so it can foster relationships between
supervisors and subordinates."
Scott described how well-established relationships, based on trust, build a solid foundation of resilience in our Airmen.
"You're not born with resiliency, you learn it," Scott said. "We go
through different aspects of our life, we learn from it, and move
forward. Our Airmen stumble and fall all the time; we pick them up, dust
them off and put them back on the right track."
The Airmen who participated in the command initiative said they were grateful for their selection.
"This is a rewarding experience. It's a huge opportunity and could
potentially be monumental," said Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, a 5th
Security Forces Squadron alarm monitor from Minot Air Force Base, North
Dakota. "It could redirect, rewrite history and rewrite lives. It could
change everything, even the way we interact as human beings and how we
complete each [Air Force] mission."
Two days of interaction and spirited discussion isn't nearly enough to
find a lasting solution, but it does open lines of communication between
ranks, mission sets and people of diverse backgrounds. Even more than
unifying Airmen in a campaign for resiliency, it paved the way for
innovative solutions to crush communication barriers and the stigma
often associated with asking for help.
"We are the hands and feet of this world," Leyk said. "It's so
refreshing to be able to go out and attempt to make change and be able
to fulfill it. I hope I was able to give valuable information, and to be
a voice, not only for our [Air Force] but for the future."