Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Sunday, March 31, 2013

ACC announces Outstanding Airmen of the Year

Air Combat Command Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Air Combat Command announced the 2013 Outstanding Airmen of the Year winners during a spring leadership conference at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 26.

"ACC's Outstanding Airmen of the Year represent superb Airmen doing great work," said Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of ACC. "They represent the leading edge and high quality work of all our Airmen."

Hostage however wasn't alone in offering praise; sentiment echoed from the ACC command chief's office as well.

"Congratulations to all our OAY winners and their families," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons, ACC command chief. "Due to your individual efforts and sacrifices you have been selected to represent an amazing team of ACC Airmen who provide operational combat power which ensures America of her freedoms."

Congratulations to the following OAY winners:
Airman
Senior Airman Andrew M. Groff
Beale AFB

Noncommissioned Officer
Tech. Sgt. Celeste C. Okokon
Dyess AFB

Senior NCO
Senior Master Sgt. Matthew J. Junglas
Davis-Monthan AFB

First Sergeant
Senior Master Sgt. Joshua R. Tidwell
Joint Base Langley-Eustis

Honor Guard
Senior Airman Dexter D. Tapley
Mountain Home AFB

Honor Guard Program Manager
Tech Sgt. Charles F. Presley II

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard announce 2013 Teen Leadership Summits

from Courtesy story

3/27/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard announced the 2013 AFR/ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations.

The AFR/ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations this summer are in Dahlonega, Ga., and Estes Park, Colo.

The teen summits combine high-adventure activities with leadership classes to allow teens to tap into their leadership potential and discover hidden strengths while developing a sense of belonging as part of the Air Force community.

Teens with a parent in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard can sign up to attend one of the free summits. April 15 is the application deadline. Participants must be 14 to 18 years old.

More information is available at http://www.georgia4h.org/afrangteensummit.

Teens must answer essay questions and complete code-of-conduct and transportation forms to attend one of the summits.

The first summit is the Classic Teen Leadership Summit in Dahlonega, Ga., June 16-21.

During this week-long adventure, teens will participate in group activities such as high ropes, zip-line canopy tour, white-water rafting, hiking, fishing, archery and survival classes.

Attendees will be introduced to community partners, such as 4-H, American Legion and YMCA, which provide support to military families. The teens will also attend leadership classes throughout the week.

The second summit is the Adventure Teen Leadership Summit in Estes Park, Colo., Aug. 13-18.

During this summit, teens will take part in daily adventure activities including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, horse colt training, arts and crafts, woodworking, technical rock climbing and archery.

Leadership classes taught throughout the week include the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Each evening, teens will gather for programs including campfires and songs, musical performances and environmental education classes.

Both summits include military traditions and community service projects.

For more information, please contact Casey Mull or Marilyn Huff-Waller at

milcamps@uga.edu or (706) 542-4444. Email is the preferred contact method until closer to the summer.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

AFR/ANG announces 2013 Teen Leadership Summits

3/28/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard announced the 2013 AFR/ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations.

The AFR/ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations this summer are in Dahlonega, Ga., and Estes Park, Colo.

The teen summits combine high-adventure activities with leadership classes to allow teens to tap into their leadership potential and discover hidden strengths while developing a sense of belonging as part of the Air Force community.

Teens with a parent in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard can sign up to attend one of the free summits. April 15 is the application deadline. Participants must be 14 to 18 years old.

More information is available at http://www.georgia4h.org/afrangteensummit.

Teens must answer essay questions and complete code-of-conduct and transportation forms to attend one of the summits.

The first summit is the Classic Teen Leadership Summit in Dahlonega, Ga., June 16-21.
During this week-long adventure, teens will participate in group activities such as high ropes, zip-line canopy tour, white-water rafting, hiking, fishing, archery and survival classes! Attendees will be introduced to community partners, such as 4-H, American Legion and YMCA, who provide support to military families. The teens will also attend leadership classes throughout the week.

The second summit is the Adventure Teen Leadership Summit in Estes Park, Colo. Aug. 13-18.

During this summit, teens will take part in daily adventure activities including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, horse colt training, arts and crafts, woodworking, technical rock climbing, and archery. Leadership classes taught throughout the week include the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Each evening, teens will gather for programs including camp fires and songs, musical performances and environmental education classes.

Both summits include military traditions and community service projects.

For more information, please contact Casey Mull or Marilyn Huff-Waller at
milcamps@uga.edu or (706) 542-4444. Email is the preferred contact method until closer to the summer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

USAF First Sergeant Academy embraces blended learning

by Airman 1st Class William J. Blankenship
Air University Public Affairs


3/20/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The U. S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy has transformed its curriculum from a traditional "brick-and-mortar" education experience to a mixture of facilitated distance learning and in-resident classroom time to teach future first sergeants.

What was once a three-week in-residence course is now four weeks of distance learning followed by two weeks at the academy, which is located on Gunter Annex.

"Blended learning offers the academy and Airmen much more flexibility," said Chief Master Sgt. Emmette Bush Jr., academy commandant. "The students get a large component of the curriculum online before they get here. Those building blocks are put to use during later lessons when students are in the classroom for their resident time."

The academy graduates about 500 first sergeants annually and is part of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. The online curriculum includes subject areas such as administration, human resource management, maintenance of discipline and readiness.

In addition, under the previous curriculum, academy instructors traveled to various bases to conduct seminars as additional learning opportunities. Blended learning, however, replaces the need for instructors to go on temporary duty to conduct the seminars, while still maintaining the number of graduates.

"Facilitated distance learning brings us up to the state-of-the-art in post-secondary education and delivery methods," said Col. Stewart Price, Barnes Center commander. "It leverages readily available education and learning management systems and delivers education in an environment today's NCOs are comfortable operating in--an Internet-based platform. This technology allows us to put the comprehension levels of learning in a low-cost environment and saves the TDY days for things that absolutely need to happen in a resident environment."

The quality of instruction is also improved.

"Blended learning gives us the flexibility to inject more dialogue and curriculum into the training and doing so in a financially savvy way," said Bush.

The changes in the curriculum also support mission effectiveness at home stations as well because students have the ability to participate while continuing with their jobs.

"The blended learning experience also allows students in the field the opportunity for mentoring from their own first sergeants before traveling here for training," said Bush.

The four-week online portion sets the stage for students to attend the two-week in-residence course, where instructors explain and walk through various duties they will be responsible for as a first sergeants at their next assignments.

"Blended learning was a pretty good experience for me, and I think the whole class took something away from the online course," said Master Sgt. Johnnie Bork, a recent graduate. "We had discussion questions on various subjects we would encounter as a first sergeant, and I was able to do a lot of research."

Bork said that because of the research he did before arriving at the academy, he was better prepared for classroom discussions.

"Because of this curriculum, we can be better prepared to serve our commanders and our Airmen," said Bush. "We need good leaders to take care of the Airmen. Blended learning is making that happen, and better leaders make for better Airmen."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Commander's vision for AETC outlined in learning transformation document

by Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs


3/18/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Air Education and Training Command officials created a document that provides an in-depth look into the commander's vision for the future.

The document, "An AETC Vision for Learning Transformation," was designed to provide information on the way ahead to anyone affected by changes within AETC about why and how the command will transform its education and training capabilities to meet future demands while operating in an increasingly-constrained fiscal environment.

The 23-page vision contains two chapters. The first chapter describes the vision and shows how learning should look for the Air Force in the future, and the second chapter provides examples of how the vision will look in Airmen's careers. Hypothetical timelines were used as examples of how the vision will look in several typical Airmen's careers.

"(The vision) should guide people's thinking about how we can deliver our product in a time of scarce resources by doing things differently," said A.J. Ranft, AETC chief learning officer.
"It's important for (AETC Airmen) to understand where we are going," he said. "I think it's very important for them to understand we just don't have the money and the resources to continue to do things the way we are. Transformation is not an option, it's a requirement. So think differently about how you do your job, because that's what it's going to take for us to continue."

Ranft said other MAJCOMs and even other services and federal departments may benefit from reading the outlined vision as well.

"Other MAJCOMs, who have a stake in the product that we deliver, care about the product of pilot training and they care about the product of technical training," he said. "It's to let them know we are keenly interested in providing them with a better graduate, but being able to maintain the production numbers that we have."

Ranft said the vision needs to be communicated down to the lowest level, because that's where the change truly takes effect.

"We have an opportunity now, within AETC and the Air Force, to transform how we deliver education and training," said Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., AETC commander. "This opportunity is driven by a future environment with more constrained resources and enabled by modern advances in technology and learning methodologies. By leveraging this opportunity, we can change the paradigm of how we deliver education and training to our Airmen so that it is more effective, more personalized, and more persistent and will likely save resources by being more efficient."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

One success inspires the next for today's women leaders

by Martha Lockwood
Air Force News Service


3/16/2013 - FORT MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- "Things done are won; joy's soul is in the doing." This quote from one of Shakespeare's most ambiguous plays, Troilus and Cressida, appears to be the constant theme behind the careers of many of the Air Force's most accomplished women.

Whether it was The Honorable Sheila E. Widnall, the 18th Secretary of the Air Force (1993-97)--and the first and only woman to take the oath of office as the secretary of any of the armed forces--who came out of academia to answer her country's call; or Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger, a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in engineering sciences, who has come up through the ranks to become the Air Force's first female four-star general; or Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who in 2006, was the first woman pilot on the precision flying team the Air Force Thunderbirds, the same can be said of each: One success served only to provide the inspiration and firm foundation for the next.

The joy of doing, and a recurring theme of innovation, is also the distinguishing theme throughout others' careers, as well. The four following highlighted careers are, like the three mentioned above, women who put a human face on Air Force excellence. Whether it's in academia, service, or leadership, whether they serve stateside or overseas, in times of peace or theatres of conflict, these are very human and inspiring lives.

Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog is a solid example of building one's successes on a firm foundation of excellence in academia, service, and leadership. She began her career in ROTC, where she emerged as a distinguished graduate in 1978. Her work at unit, major command, and Air Staff level in various positions has included commanding several large security forces units, a technical training group, and one of the largest training wings in the U.S. Air Force, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. She was the director of Security Forces, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.; and prior to her current assignment, she was the commander, 2nd Air Force, Keesler AFB, Miss.

Concurrently, she was pursuing her education -Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.; a master's degree in industrial psychology from Webster University, St. Louis, Mo.; and both the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Today, she is the Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), which is the Department of Defense's single point of accountability for all sexual assault policy matters. SAPRO reports to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

As with Maj. Gen. Hertog, wholehearted involvement in the Air Force is a defining characteristic of retired Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris' career. More than a decade before Maj. Gen. Hertog, Major Gen. Harris also followed a traditional path, obtaining her bachelor's degree in speech and drama from Spellman College in Atlanta in 1964. A year later, she was commissioned a second lieutenant after completing Officer Training School at Lackland AFB, Texas.

After early-career assignments as an administrative officer, Harris transitioned into the maintenance field by attending the aircraft maintenance officer's course at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill., and graduated as the first female aircraft maintenance officer. After a series of maintenance supervisor assignments in Thailand, California, and Washington, D.C., Harris became one of the first women to be an air officer commanding at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Following a series of equally stellar appointments throughout the world, Harris became the first female African-American general in 1991.

Although she retired from active duty in 1997, Harris continues a rigorous and active involvement in the Air Force. In 2010, President Obama appointed her a member of the Board of Visitors for the United States Air Force Academy.

Excellence in academics, service, and leadership isn't the only path to success for women in the Air Force. And even careers that seemingly converge, often demonstrate excellence in different ways. Two people who were named to the first female fighter-pilot class in 1993--retired Lt. Col. Sharon Preszler and retired Col. Martha McSally--found their similar skills and training put to use in different arenas.

Seeing the opportunity to become a fighter pilot as full participation in "a performance-based industry," Preszler was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, upon completion of her training. There she flew sorties over Iraq as part of Operation Northern Watch. Ultimately becoming 20th Fighter Wing staff director and Commander's Action Group director, Preszler credits her mother with instilling in her the idea that she could fly planes, not just ride in them.

Col. Martha McSally was also named to that first all-female class of fighter pilots in 1993, but it would be another year before she actually arrived. Upon graduation in 1995, she was deployed to Kuwait where she saw action in Afghanistan. In July 2004, when she took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., she became the first woman to command a fighter squadron.

There is no question that for these four women, and for the thousands of men and women who have excelled in their own Air Force niche, joy is found in a job well done. And inspiration. There must be an ideal to light the way. McSally may have said it best: "...I hope I'm a role model to both men and women because we are a fighting force and should not be concerned with the differences between us."

(Martha Lockwood is the chief of Air Force Information Products, Defense Media Activity)

Monday, March 11, 2013

First AF woman 4-star comes full circle

3/11/2013 - FORT MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- Young Janet Libby was definitely someone going places at Beavercreek High School near Dayton, Ohio. She was in the National Honor Society, on both the German and Ski clubs and a soccer athlete as well.

But even those friends and well-wishers who would have signed her senior yearbook with words like "you'll go far," and "you'll be a success in life," could never have imagined that the young daughter of an Air Force pilot would go on to become the first female in the Air Force to attain the rank of four-star general, and only the second in military history.

Today, Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger has come full circle from those Beavercreek roots as the commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, a major command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, just a few miles from where she graduated from high school. She is responsible for more than 80,000 Airmen and civilians worldwide, along with a $60 billion annual budget, leading an organization that supports the warfighting efforts through state-of-the-art technology, weapon systems management, systems development and evaluation and a global supply-chain management system.

It didn't take long following her graduation from high school for Wolfenbarger to make her mark. After a suggestion from her dad a year earlier, she applied and was accepted in 1976 into the first class at the Air Force Academy to accept women.

"The Air Force Academy was an opportunity for me to be stretched in so many ways: physically, mentally and emotionally," said Wolfenbarger at a women's conference in San Diego in 2011. "It was an opportunity to prove to myself that, in fact, I could withstand those kinds of experiences, and come out on the other end realizing that I was far more capable than I ever thought I would be. The experience gave me a belief in myself that I have relied upon ever since."

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1980, she has spent most of her career in the acquisition field, leaving her imprint on the purchase, testing and implementation of the F-22 Raptor, the B-2 Spirit and the C-17 Globemaster III programs. She went on to earn a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in aeronautics and astronautics.

Although Wolfenbarger is proud of her accomplishments and the direction women are headed in the Air Force, she said that she never wanted to be recognized for simply being a woman. "I wanted to do well and be recognized because I worked hard," said Wolfenbarger. "I did the very best I could at every job I held."

During the early 1980s, when Wolfenbarger was in the early stages of her career, she told stories of women who could be discharged for getting pregnant or even adopting a child. There were also many more career fields closed to women at the time. She believes that over the past three decades, women have made tremendous strides.

"We now have, not only maternity leave, but also paternity leave for our service members," she said. "Also, when I joined, there were a host of career fields closed to women, but we can now, as a service, proudly say that we have 97 percent of our career fields open to women."

Even though Wolfenbarger believes many women entering the Air Force today may take for granted their equal status, she said there are still areas of progress yet to be overcome.

"I think one of our challenges when we serve our country is that there is such a drive to support our nation in whatever mission we are assigned. I think there has to be a constant reminder that we all have to search for that work and life balance because, in the end, it is our families, our friends and our health that we have to rely on when our careers are over."

Saturday, March 09, 2013

AETC command chief to Airmen: “You matter”

by Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs


3/7/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The command chief for Air Education and Training Command is using his conventional wisdom to lead today's Airmen by being out front and connecting.

AETC Command Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia Jr., formerly the command chief with the 12th Air Force at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., has been on the job just more than a month and already knows what he's going to do to lead AETC's Airmen. He's been doing it his entire career - taking care of Airmen.

This is Tapia's third assignment as a command chief, and he knows all too well how to do a job he loves after 28 years of service.

His background in Personnel and master's degree in human resources development and management give him a distinct advantage when it comes to developing and leading people.

"I am incredibly comfortable being in the business of developing our Airmen," said Tapia. "Caring for people is a natural thing for me. I've always had a passion for people."

He plans to visit with as many Airmen as possible in order to be a conduit between AETC Commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr.

"If General Rice comes in here and asks how our Airmen are doing, how can I answer that question if I haven't been out to the field with them, shared meals with them, come in late and walked the dorms and been in the duty sections," he said. "That's where you get the real feel for how things are going and Airmen will really open up to you over a plate of hamburger and french fries."

Tapia recently made his first base visit as the new command chief to Luke AFB, Ariz., where he spent time with the Airmen to talk about key issues such as Comprehensive Airmen Fitness.

When the command chief speaks to his Airmen he reminds them about the faith and trust the Air Force has in them.

"My big message to them is that standards in this command matter; that level of excellence that we have grown accustomed to putting forth in this command matters; the extra effort they give us every single day matters; that their families matter; that their professional development matters to me," he said.

Tapia will diligently deliver that message wherever his travels take him throughout the command. And even though he may not be able to reach every Airman, he hopes his words are echoed all over AETC.

"I honestly wish I had enough time to go around and meet every single person in the command and tell them I'm proud of them and thank them for their sacrifices, but I know I probably won't be able to meet all of them," he said.

"I have them (the Airmen) on my mind constantly," said Tapia. "I care deeply about them and their families. I will be working as hard as I possibly can to ensure that we have their best interests in mind. I am their voice for that."

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A snowstorm, a shovel and a lesson

Commentary by 1st Lt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs


3/5/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- "This is a one big mess."

Those were my thoughts as I peered out the window of my second floor apartment at a vast blanket of white covering the ground. The sidewalks, steps, and parking lot of the complex were buried under more than 14 inches of snow, dumped on the area courtesy of the second-largest snowstorm on record for Wichita.

Having relocated to the Midwest after more than two years in Southern California, I had been spoiled by living in the mild weather of the "endless summer." I now despised the bitter cold of the annual Kansas snowstorms. Since our move from the west coast, my wife and I had taken our coats and other winter clothes out of storage, but we'd neglected to make one essential purchase: A snow shovel. I now dreaded wading out into the drifts armed with nothing but a piece of cardboard to excavate a path to our vehicles.

As the last few flurries fell from the sky, I heard a strange, scraping sound coming from below. I looked down and saw an individual bundled in cold weather gear attacking the sidewalks with a shovel, slowly making progress in carving a route through the snow. As I watched, he worked his way down the sidewalk and began clearing the steps of the apartment buildings.

I was extremely impressed.

"Hey, check this out," I said to my wife. "It literally just stopped snowing and the maintenance guys are already out clearing the sidewalks and the steps!"

Due to the weather, I had been instructed not to report to the base that day. I had ambitious plans to spend the morning on the couch in my pajamas, drinking coffee and watching reruns. My wife, however, had other plans for me. Her employer had not yet closed for the day, and she informed me that she fully intended to try to make it to work despite the massive snowfall.

Being the supportive husband that I am, I dutifully donned my coat and stepped outside to warm up her car and see if I could possibly dig it out of the snow. I figured it was the least I could do considering she was planning to go to work and I was staying home.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the "maintenance guy" had not only cleared the sidewalks and steps, but also had made a pathway through the snow to the parking lot, giving me easy access to her car without having to plod through the snow banks.

"These maintenance guys are awesome," I thought as I set about the task of chipping away at the ice encasing the windshield.

As I worked, I noticed the "maintenance guy" was now in the parking lot and working to dig a vehicle out of the snow, making his way to the bare pavement one shovelful at a time.

I decided to thank him for clearing the sidewalks off so quickly after the storm. I walked toward where he was working, and that's when I noticed his boots.

Green suede leather. Air Force issue. The same type of boots I was wearing to protect my feet from the snow.

"Are you in the Air Force?," I asked, a bit confused as I still thought this guy was a part of the apartment maintenance team.

"Yeah," he replied. "I'm a crew chief at McConnell."

"So you don't work for the apartments?," I asked, still not quite understanding why he was shoveling snow.

"No," he said. "I just live here."

"So why did you shovel the sidewalks and clear the way to the parking lot?," I asked, genuinely curious.

He smiled.

"Well, I had a snow shovel and I figured people would need to get out to their cars, so I just thought I'd go ahead and take care of it," he said.

He then noticed that I had been trying to dig my wife's car out without a shovel.

"Hey," he said, "Do you want some help with getting your car out of the snow?"

I was impressed, inspired and humbled all in the same moment. In my Air Force career, I've heard my share of inspirational Air Force stories and been schooled in Air Force heritage, history and doctrine. I've listened as senior leaders lectured on the meaning of our core values and what it means to be an Airman. And yet here, right in front of me, holding a shovel and standing in a foot of snow, was a simple, yet poignant example of service before self that resonated with me like many lessons of the past never had.

Over the next couple of days, I managed to track down the snow shoveling Airman. As it turns out, Senior Airman Ryan McPartland is an Air Reserve Technician here, a member of the 931st Maintenance Squadron. When I had the opportunity to speak to him again, I asked him why he had taken the initiative to do what he had done.

"When I saw all the snow blocking the pathways and parking lots, I thought about the older individuals who live in the apartments and some of the families that have small children," he said. "I didn't want anyone to slip and fall out there, and once I had cleared the sidewalks I just decided to go ahead and start shoveling out near the cars and help whoever might need it out there. I was brought up to help others without wanting or expecting anything in return."

Helping others without wanting or expecting anything in return.  If that isn't the definition of service before self, I don't know what is.

Airman McPartland's example, while not an act of valor on the battlefield or a tremendous, life-altering feat, definitely taught me an important lesson. And ultimately, it drove home what service before self is really all about.

It's not about huge, force-wide undertakings of volunteerism. It's not about "being a good wingman" or any other catch phrase. It's simply about being willing, each day, to take the time to put the needs of others, the needs of the mission, ahead of your own. It's being willing to sacrifice for the greater good of all.

It's being willing to spend hours in the cold, shoveling snow so others won't have to.

I learned a lot on that messy, snowy morning ... and I'll never look at a Kansas snowstorm quite the same way.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Spiritual Resiliency: Finding that special something

by Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/1/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Part 4 of 4

That special something that you call upon to pull you through the darkest of hours and most trying of times; that special something is what's called our spiritual resilience.

Often times, people believe that spiritual resiliency is based solely on religion, but in all actuality, one's ability to be spiritually resilient is achieved through a multitude of different focuses.

"Spiritual outlets usually focus on one's personal beliefs, values, relationships and or religious faith" noted Ivera Harris, Air Mobility Command's community support program manager. "For some it may mean activities that reinforce a sense of purpose, meaning and connection like volunteerism, community involvement, appreciation of nature, meditation and prayer."

Understanding what strengthens you deep within is quintessential in developing your resilience and can be simply accomplished by asking yourself, "What motivates, enlightens, and gives my life meaning?"

"Our Airmen and their families find strengths in different areas," commented Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. "I encourage them to find that place, whatever works for them, because at any moment each of us requires the individual pillars of wellness to move us through life's challenges."

Whatever your spiritual focuses are, understanding them and making sure that they are priorities, can be what gets you through those difficult times that drain you mentally, emotionally and physically, leaving you feeling defeated.

"When push comes to shove and I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I turn to God and my family," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Ford, a sortie support technician with the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. "Knowing that I have unconditional love and support from both is inspiring; they soothe my mind and calm my nerves."

One's spirituality is deeply embedded and gives a heart-warming sensation, a feeling of fulfillment. Each and everyone needs to understand its importance and embrace its powers so that it can better their life.

Even if you know exactly what motivates, enlightens and inspires you, that is only a part of the foundation; maintenance and upkeep are the bricks and mortar that must coincide.

"By regularly growing your spiritual resiliency, you become more aware of the subtle aspects happening in the world around you" commented Capt. Christy S. Cruz, a licensed clinical social worker and Family Advocacy officer at MacDill AFB, Fla. "Taking time for self-reflection and connecting with your spirit regularly, will keep you in tune with your own needs, in touch with what really matters, and will help motivate you."

Care and conservation of one's spirituality has been proven time and time again to strengthen a person's ability to cope with stressors and hard times. Building on relationships, behaviors, beliefs and faiths all help solidify one's mental, physical, social and spiritual wellness.

As is the case with each of the pillars of wellness, establishing relationships with resiliency experts and the many services available to you is extremely important. Friendly advice from a chaplain, mental health provider, physical trainer, dietitian, or a staff member at the Airman and Family Readiness Center is always available. Remember, no matter what the issue, big or small, they will get you steered in the right direction.

As Dr. Robert M. Sherfield, author of Your Values and Spirituality, so eloquently put it, "There is a spiritual language that we all share - a smile, a human touch, the shedding of a tear, an embrace, a silent prayer of the heart. These are basic needs that transcend."

Find what matters most to you and use it as your special something.

Information in this article was referenced from U.S. Air Force resiliency program material and in Dr. Robert M. Sherfield's Your Values and Spirituality.

When did your leadership light bulb come on?

Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. David Dock
Headquarters, Air Force Space Command


3/1/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- In November 1992, a new chief master sergeant was assigned to my squadron. It caught all of our units' Airmen by surprise that the new chief decided to move into the office adjacent to the bathrooms when there were much better locations behind "the glass doors."

One early afternoon, I walked into the bathroom and on my way back the chief asked me to come into his office to talk. He proceeded to ask me about my life, my family, my hopes and goals. He challenged how I was pursuing my goals and continued on to instruct me on how my decisions could and would affect my future service. The chief re-vectored me on a few of my developmental choices and ended the conversation with..."we WILL be doing this again!"

As the chief exclaimed, this became a pattern.

Over the next year or so, he would stop me on my way back from my break for updates. The chief amazed me with his precise recollection of all of the events in my life. He knew names, dates, progresses and shortfalls.

Shortly after my selection to staff sergeant, he called me into his office and said, "Dave, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I keep a close eye on all of my people and try to steer any and all who will listen on a professional development path, but I have a select few that I feel a vested interest in that I feel will go onto great things. The key is...they get that it's not about you, it's about us. Dave, you are one of my select few." I was stunned and really didn't know how to respond. He went on to say, "You are going to be a chief someday and I will be in your ear to congratulate you."

A few months later, I was selected for instructor duty and on my last day in the unit, I went into his office.

I asked, "Chief, since I'm leaving can you please tell me how you have developed such a great memory? You know everything about everybody!"

He responded, "Since you will be a fellow chief in the future...here's the secret," and he pulled out a Rolodex. You see, every time an Airman would go into the bathroom the chief would review their Rolodex card and when they were heading back to their work area he would stop them, give them a summary of their last conversation and ask for updates. When they were done and they departed he would update their card (in pencil) and wait for the next meeting.

Showing that level of concern and interest in all of his people, that lit my leadership light bulb. I want and strive to be that chief.

One final note: The day I was informed that I had been selected for chief (14 years after his retirement), my cell phone rang and at the other end of the line was my chief. He said, "I told you this would happen. Now remember, it's not about you, it's about us!"

A call to leadership

by Chief Master Sgt. David J. Martin
Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe/Air Forces Africa


2/28/2013 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of being on the Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe/Air Forces Africa Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year board.

One of the questions asked by a board member was, "If you were in my seat and had to ask the nominees one question, what would you ask and why?" One senior NCO replied, "I would ask each nominee, 'What are you doing to develop your Airmen, junior NCOs and officers?'" The senior NCO continued, "I think we have failed as a senior NCO corps to take every opportunity to look in the eyes of our fellow Airmen and ask them how they are doing and what we can do to help develop them."

What courage! I agree with the sentiment and I would like to make a call to leadership because of it. I challenge every Airman and civilian to be the leader their Airmen deserve. A great place to start is with courage.

Imagine the amount of courage it took for that master sergeant to look at four major command chief master sergeants and say, "Chiefs, you need to be chiefs."

That very statement made me conduct a self evaluation of my performance as a leader/servant. I had to ask myself several difficult questions: Do I know the people I work with? Do I know the names of their spouses and how many children they have? Do I know what they hope to gain from this assignment and what they want to give to this assignment and the Air Force? Have I given them every opportunity to excel or do I accept mediocrity as their norm? Am I willing to throw it all on the line when they tried their best and came up short? Am I willing to jump in front of the onslaught before it gets to my co-workers? Do I have a mantra that goes something like this, "All the success we enjoy in our shop is because of the hard work my co-workers do and all the failure is because of my poor management skill?"

This is not a call for perfection, but it is a call for leadership that looks beyond everyone's imperfections and works to improve everyone.

Leadership doesn't start when you become a chief master sergeant, colonel or SES, and it doesn't stop because you promote to these higher grades. Leadership starts right now, where you are, regardless of your grade or position.

You can start to answer this call to leadership by conducting your own self evaluation. After that, do the performance feedback you owe your personnel, lead your unit in physical fitness by exercising regularly, sit in with a few co-workers as they process conflict resolution, care to champion an idea someone has to affect positive change, and so on. Have the courage to ask the people you work with how they are doing and have the courage to listen to them.

Finally, strive from this point forward to be a leader and servant!