Resiliency Day observed at Red Flag 12-2

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Dominique Masters
  • 388th Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
"Mission First, People Always" has been a long standing motto of the United States Air Force. I think this saying is an important reminder of the source of the Air Force's true strength, its people. It is the men and women who work day after day to fulfill the Air Force's mission to "Fly, Fight and Win, in Air, Space and Cyberspace" that gives the United States its dominance in airpower.

Unfortunately, the Air Force has entered the year 2012 with 15 less Airmen. With a high number of suicides in the military community, the Air Force found it important to take a day and remind us all of the, "People Always" part of our mission.

The Chief of Staff of the Air Force mandated units stand down for a resiliency day and take time to focus on the Airmen to remind them that above all else, they must take care of themselves and one another.

Regardless of location or mission, all units ceased normal work activities, including Hill's Operations and Maintenance personnel deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in support of Red Flag 12-2.

Determined to emphasize the significance of the day, we focused on the importance of our own well-being. The deployed commanders, first sergeant and wing chaplain teamed together to coordinate an all day event combining celebration of achievement, suicide prevention, health information and morale and welfare events.

Maintainers and pilots alike gathered together for a barbecue where they also recognized the promotees in their group.

While in small group sessions, we had the opportunity to openly express ourselves in a safe environment of peers. We discussed questions, concerns, fears and suggestions with each other on issues felt to be important.

The day concluded with teambuilding morale events such as dodgeball and trips to the Hoover Dam. Airmen were astonished and grateful that an entire day focused solely on them and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

By the end of the day each were reminded that the Air Force's greatest asset is not aircraft, weapons or technology but rather its people. Just as we spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week maintaining F-16s, it is equally as important that we take care of ourselves and one another.

Without the care that our aircraft receive, they would be unable to perform the mission, and our Airmen are no different.