by Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs
4/24/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The
men and women of the 673d Medical Group Mental Health Clinic are
reaching out to JBER to debunk the negative myths associated with asking
for help, while trying to educate service members on programs available
to stay resilient.
"There is a myth that seeking help is a sign of weakness," said Tech.
Sgt. Kimberly Orange, 673d Medical Operations Squadron noncommissioned
officer-in-charge of psychological health. "Seeking help is a good
thing; would you rather suffer in silence or reach out and ask for
Air Force Maj. David Wright, 673d MDOS, a physician and director of
psychological health at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital
agreed. Wright said the mentality that allows service members to be
ready to defend the U.S. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doesn't
necessarily lend itself to making it easy to ask for help.
The biggest myth about mental or behavioral health is that asking to see
a mental health provider will have negative effects on your career,
"Seeking help early is a message that comes from the Joint Chiefs on
down - ask for help if you or someone you know needs it," Wright said.
"Early help-seeking has way better outcomes than trying to push through
difficulties alone or not asking for help."
There is an idea that seeking help is a sign of weakness, Orange said. The idea is untrue - it's a sign of strength.
People are afraid they will be thought of as being crazy, she said, but
needing and seeking help isn't crazy. It's no different to seeking help
for a serious illness or injury.
The Air Force breaks down the concept of wellness, a key component of
resiliency, into four dimensions, or pillars: spiritual wellness,
emotional wellness, physical wellness and social wellness.
The Army includes family wellness as a fifth pillar.
The pillars are areas of life which service members should proactively monitor and seek help if necessary.
These concepts are part of two bigger programs: the Comprehensive Airman
Fitness program, an Air Force-wide initiative focused on improving
Airman readiness by solidifying the four pillars; and the Comprehensive
Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2), an Army initiative designed to build
resilience and enhance performance of the Army family - Soldiers, their
families and Army civilians.
These programs allow JBER agencies to work together to ensure services
are available to provide safety, health and well-being, personnel
preparedness and family adaptation for all Soldiers and Airmen.
The CAF and CSF2 provide hands-on training and self-development tools so
service members are better able to cope with adversity, perform well in
stressful situations and thrive in life.
Both initiatives focus on developing a sense of community for the active
duty population, family members and Department of Defense employees.
"A lot of people, if not everyone, would benefit from talking to someone
outside of a [medical setting] just to learn some of this stuff,"
Wright said. "If I want to learn how to work out, I can go to the Health
and Wellness Center and say 'Hey show me how to work out,' or I can go
to interval training and say, 'I've never done interval training, will
you show me how?'"
Mental Health is currently providing classes on leadership, identifying
your values, parenting of newborns, managing your anger and improving
They are also pushing to educate service members on programs like
Soldier and Airman Fitness while highlighting the differences in the
"Some [programs] have the possibility of command notification, some of
them are 100 percent confidential, some of them have medical record
documentation and some of them don't," Wright said. "If you're concerned
about your career and command notification, a perfect place for you to
go is the Vet Center downtown. It's free and available to anyone with a
If you haven't had a combat deployment and are still concerned about
confidentiality, Military One Source and the Military Family and Life
Consultants are good resources, Wright said.
There are many options for help, and Mental Health is striving to do a better job with providing education about these programs.
"Service members should take this seriously," Orange said. "We need to
feel connected and involved in something and when we don't feel
connected and involved, our lives can start to unravel.
"Supervisors need to become more engaged in their subordinates and know what is going on in their lives."
For information on the CAF and CSF2 programs and a list of resources, visit www.jber.af.mil/fitness. For more on programs through the Mental Health Clinic, call 580-2181.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(OKLAHOMA CITY) – The May 9 deadline for applications to the General Tommy Franks' Four-Star Leadership Institute draws near for high school students seeking entry to the prestigious leadership program.
Only 50 students will be chosen to participate. They will meet with authors, politicians and global thought leaders, and participate in leadership training, policy debate and speech competition. Students will receive free travel, room, and board to the July 13-19 program.
$400,000 in scholarships will be available to the students. Three participants will receive full-tuition scholarships to the University of Texas – Arlington, and $20,000 in scholarship grants will be awarded to competition winners. Any of the 50 4SL participants who choose to attend Oklahoma Christian University will also receive a $1,000 per year scholarship for up to four years.
“This life-changing learning experience is the finest kind of investment in a young person’s character, education and commitment to a lifetime of leadership,” said Gen. Tommy Franks.
Since 2008, 4SL has welcomed 206 American high school students from 42 states and 32 international students. Kings, governors, senators, Olympic gold medalists and top national policy experts have mentored students in developing and demonstrating the core leadership principles of the program: character, common vision, communication, and caring.
Each session will follow curriculum designed to develop leadership skills and challenge students through team-building exercises, collaboration, spontaneous problem solving and competition. Excursions during the week will provide participants opportunities to further develop and employ those skills through cultural experiences and service projects.
This year’s Four Star Leadership competition offers students expert policy briefings so they may address those issues in persuasive speech and editorial contests, while collaborating in a model Student Congress. Students will investigate contemporary policy controversies ranging from energy policy to human rights.
To apply today, please visit http://fourstarleader.com/
About the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum
The goal of the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum is to tell compelling stories of leadership, introduce historical topics in each exhibit, and to encourage study and debate concerning the leadership traits illustrated by the story. It is located in Hobart, Okla. For more information, visit www.tommyfranksmuseum.org.
Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma Christian University is recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review. The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study and graduate programs in business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity. In addition to its Oklahoma City campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Europe, Honduras and the Pacific Rim. We’re thrilled to welcome program participants to campus and proud they’ll call OC home for this important week. For more information, visit: http://www.oc.edu.
About the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)
With offices in Dallas and Washington, D.C., the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. For more information, visit www.ncpa.org
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)
With thousands of members across the state and a staff based in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs operates as an independent, nonprofit public policy research organization – a think tank – focused primarily on state-level issues. Throughout their 20 years of existence, the primary purpose of OCPA has been to educate the citizenry to equip them for self-government. They want to empower Oklahomans to lead the nation in the defense of freedom by providing fact-based public policy analysis that promotes free markets, limited government and entrepreneurial opportunity. OCPA publishes the conclusions from its research in the monthly policy journal Perspective and online at www.ocpathink.org. In turn, they promote those conclusions through an array of media – including radio, TV, Facebook and Twitter – that has steadily increased in breadth, scope and effectiveness. Today, within the arena of public policy and politics, OCPA is regarded as the flagship of the free-market movement in Oklahoma
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Brown, 65th Communications Squadron / Published April 15, 2014
LAJES FIELD, Azores (AFNS) -- "I don't want to hurt her career."
"He's the best NCO I've got. I don't want to see him lose a stripe."
How many times have you heard someone in a leadership position make statements such as these when contemplating disciplinary actions when an Airman or NCO makes a terrible decision? Whether due to an individual getting a DUI, failing multiple PT tests or abusing the government credit card, more often than not, emotions creep into the ramification decision making process. To make effective judgments, leaders must put personal emotions aside and make the tough decision to discipline an Airman. When leaders make the tough call, they maintain good order and discipline, earn trust and respect, and uphold our core values.
While our core values are ingrained into our way of life, what they mean may differ slightly from Airman to Airman. Typically when asked what 'service before self' means, Airmen give the proverbial answer, "well, I put my Air Force job before my personal desires." While that is partially true, 'service before self' also means making decisions that are in the Air Force's best interest instead of making decisions that ease emotional pain. Our core values are more than the minimum standards by which we live; they assist us in getting the mission accomplished. To achieve that mission, we must develop our Airmen, not coddle them.
Leaders strive to enrich and mentor their Airmen at every turn. Guidance is provided by using "good order and discipline," but when leaders allow emotions to slip into disciplinary decisions, good order dissipates.
According to Freek Vermeulen, author and associate professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, "it's common for smart leaders to make bad decisions -- and most of the time, emotions are to blame." When decisions are made based on one's own personal feelings instead of basing them on the facts at hand, good order and discipline is lost. For example, when an Airman makes a grave choice and breaks a law, should his or her lapse in judgment adversely affect their career? Typically, squadron leadership makes that call. If subordinates see punitive decisions that are influenced more by emotions than facts, good order and discipline will become strained and confidence in leadership abilities will be lost.
To be a trusted and respected leader in today's Air Force, one must understand that in a 'glass house' every decision and overall leadership ability is constantly scrutinized by Airmen. Some decisions are small and innocuous, while others are more important: they affect lives and families. Inevitably, leadership mistakes are made along the way. One of the easiest ways to gain respect is to remain consistent when making decisions and remove any personal biases when making the tough calls.
Making life-changing decisions is often the hardest part of being a leader. To soften the blow to your own psyche, always do what's right, not what "feels" right. Often times, when a hard line is taken, the offender is less likely to repeat the act and others in the unit are less likely to make the same bad decision.
Therefore, when making uncomfortable decisions, put personal emotions aside, uphold our core values, maintain good order and discipline and become the trusted and respected leader you strive to be. The next time one of those phrases creep into your mind, remember you didn't make the bad decision, the Airman did.
Monday, April 14, 2014
By Tech. Sgt. DeErick Gray, 387th Air Expeditionary Group / Published April 13, 2014
SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Have you set goals for your future? According to dictionary.com, "a goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed." Goals can be short or long-term, personal, professional, spiritual or physical, and are usually specific to a person or group. According to Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, you are 42 percent more likely to reach a goal by writing it down. In short, a goal that is not written down is just a thought.
On my first and second deployments I had no strategy for setting goals. For my third deployment, I bought a journal and wrote down my goals and plans to make them a reality. As a result, I completed three online college courses and earned two Community College of the Air Force degrees. I also completed several hours of professional development, became debt free and most importantly, effectively managed my time. I achieved more on my third deployment than my first two combined.
When setting goals, you must make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, or S.M.A.R.T. A specific goal has a greater chance of being accomplished and allows for strategic planning. A measurable goal establishes concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal set. You should set milestones to track progress and make corrections as needed. To ensure goals are attainable, you must figure out the best route to take to achieve your goals. The Professional Development Guide describes this as the planning phase. You are the best person to determine if a goal is realistic based on your abilities. For instance, a goal of losing 50 pounds in 30 days is not realistic. To ensure your goal is timely, have a reasonable completion date and adhere to the checkpoints set. If these steps are skipped, you will easily get off track.
As the individual setting the goal, you should also make sure that it is known to people who can assist in achievement. For example, if your goal is to make senior airman below the zone, it is probably a good idea to let your supervisor know your intentions. Making your goal known shows your motivation to live the core value of excellence. Can you really be "excellent in all you do," if you do not set goals to become excellent? Also, setting and achieving goals gives you confidence to set greater milestones and achieve them.
Setting goals is an important aspect of life that has been proven time and time again. My current goal is to earn my bachelor's degree in accounting by 2016. One of the milestones I set was the completion of four classes during this deployment. I am well on the way to accomplishing that milestone. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses has made accomplishing this easier. It is never too late in life or on a deployment to set goals. So again I pose the question, "How many of you have goals?" We all have to start somewhere; I will see you at the finish line.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., April 11, 2014 – Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and Bret Michaels, famed singer-songwriter and philanthropist, joined hundreds of guests to honor America’s youngest patriots at the 6th Annual Military Child of the Year Awards Gala at the Crystal Gateway Marriott here yesterday evening.
During the Operation Homefront-hosted event, Dempsey and Michaels, the keynote speaker, honored the sacrifices of some 2 million military children with particular recognition for the extraordinary academic and community achievements for one child from each branch of service.
“What makes America great is the people that commit … to being not only the best they can, but standing for something greater than themselves,” Dempsey said. “The … Military Children of the Year fit very well into that mold; they’re not satisfied just to be average –- they want to make a difference.”
The chairman described the honorees as those who will neither be bystanders nor accept mediocrity in life. “They will continue to be leaders of consequence for themselves, for their families, for their communities and also for the nation,” he said.
Michaels thanked military members and their families for the freedoms he and other Americans enjoy. He then awarded the five honorees a total of $10,000.
“I get to play music the way I want to do it, I get to look the way I want to look and it’s all because of the sacrifice you made,” Michaels said to the honorees. “I want to congratulate [them] on their fight in overcoming adversity [and] taking a chance to make some great opportunities.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III noted the winners’ achievements across the services.
“It seems like people want to write off young folks as not caring about things; clearly that’s not the case here,” Welsh said. “The volunteer hours, the attention they pay to each other, the way all of them take care of people and their families; it’s just remarkable – [it] makes you feel pretty good about the future.”
Services leaders presented the awards with remarks to the respective recipients.
-- Army: Kenzie Hall, 16, Temecula, Calif.
At just 11 years old, Kenzie discovered acting classes to be therapeutic during the year her father was deployed to Afghanistan. She and her sister both traveled to Los Angeles for auditions and it was then Kenzie realized she could help other military children live their dreams. For five years and counting, Bratpack 11, the organization Kenzie developed, has recruited volunteers, produced a public service announcement and made cold calls to prospective donors. And so far, the budding charity can already claim notable achievements, such as sending a family, whose father was lost in combat, on an all-expense paid trip to Disneyland.
-- Marine Corps: Michael-Logan Jordan, 15, Kailua, Hawaii.
After being diagnosed at age 3 with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which limits his mobility and requires intense medical treatment, Michael-Logan opted to volunteer to help others in need. He is now the Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation, which helps wounded warriors, first responders and disadvantaged children. In addition to his interest in the United States’ legislative process, Michael-Logan said he would ultimately like to become a pediatric rheumatologist and help find a cure.
-- Navy: Ryan Patrick Curtain, 18, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Despite moving nine times since 1996, Ryan carries a 99-plus percent grade point average while carrying a full load of advanced placement courses. He missed the first month of his senior year in high school due to surgery recuperation to correct a life-long birth defect. He recently earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for amassing more than 500 volunteer hours in a single year. Ryan was also president of both the Defense Department and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Youth Ambassador Program and the Flour Bluff High School Student-to-Student Program.
-- Air Force: Gage Alan Dabin, 18, Anchorage, Alaska.
While maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, along with advanced placement courses, varsity sports and community service organizations, Gage has received nominations to all service academies and is awaiting appointments. He aspires to serve as a foreign area officer and would also like to qualify for special operations. Following his military experience, he expressed interest in becoming a war correspondent. Gage’s long tradition of military service includes his great-grandfather in World War II and a cousin and uncle, each Naval Academy graduates.
-- Coast Guard: Juanita Lindsay Collins, 17, Clearwater, Fla.
With a 4.5 cumulative, weighted grade point average, Juanita has also achieved more than 300 hours of volunteer service and served as president of both her junior and senior class. She earned membership in the National Honor Society and played four years of varsity volleyball while holding various positions in clubs and service organizations. This fall, Juanita will begin courses to become a pediatrician, and has so far been accepted to Stetson University, University of South Florida and Florida State University in Tallahassee.