Tag Archives: advice

Legacy project

By Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

He fumbled with the blue, index cards as he leaned into the microphone and spoke to a crowded room.

After 23 years, this was the last time he would wear the U.S. Air Force uniform. He was retiring, and May 8, 2015, was the last day anyone would call him Master Sgt. Shawn Leach.

“Life happens,” he began, slowly. “Your career is going to be like a rollercoaster. My career was like one.”

Retirement rollercoaster
Master Sgt. Shawn Leach, 501st Combat Support Wing emergency management superintendent, looks over a set of index cards before delivering a speech during his retirement ceremony at RAF Alconbury, England, May 8, 2015. Leach said his U.S. Air Force career was like a rollercoaster, full of ups, downs, twists and turns. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

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What does mentoring mean to you?

By Senior Airman Michelle Patten
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

On Nov. 30, we asked our Facebook followers to fill in the blank on this question: You know you’ve been mentored when ________________.

Their responses ranged from shoutouts to their favorite mentors to Airmen describing the success they experienced from effective mentoring. Take a look at some of the answeres we received about Air Force mentoring, and see what you can learn to become a better leader and mentor.

Continue reading What does mentoring mean to you?

Looking out for your wingman during the holidays

By Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

111208-F-SM817-001Editor’s Note: This is the first entry in a blog series on dealing with holiday stress, strengthening resiliency and linking Airmen to support networks and resources. Airmen are encouraged to seek help and know that they have an Air Force family ready to listen and provide support in times of need.

The holidays are meant to be cheerful, but for some Airmen it can be the most stressful time of the year. As it is most often a time spent with friends and family, this season can be a magnifier for those individuals with existing emotional or psychological issues.

Although we signed the dotted line and chose this life, it’s never easy to be away from loved ones. In 2009, I spent Christmas deployed to Iraq, while my pregnant wife and family were on the other side of the world. Even though I was able to watch my daughters open presents over the Internet, it wasn’t quite the same. For many Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, this has become a common place, but for others this can be the last straw.

There are countless reasons why someone may be feeling down. Some common causes could be: this is the first time he or she has been away from home on the holidays, financial problems or relationship issues.

Even though you may converse with your co-workers, do you really know what’s happening to them outside of work? We should be looking after our own throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. Each and every day we should look for warning signs, trying to find out the causes of why someone has become withdrawn or why someone is lashing out. 

Once you recognize that an Airman has a true problem, what next? You should try to talk to him or her, but more importantly – listen. If an Airman does not want to share his or her issues, provide reassurance and information on the various programs available to Airmen and dependents for private mental and spiritual care.

Each base provides mental health counselors. Chaplains and Military One Source are also good options. Base chaplains have a 100 percent confidentiality clause, while Military One Source provides up to 12 off-base counseling sessions per issue at no charge.

Other programs include the Suicide Prevention Line, which has a toll free number 1-800-273-Talk (8255). The Defense Centers of Excellence, available 24/7, is staffed by health resource consultants who provide information, resources and referrals for service members, veterans and their families. They can be reached at 1-866-966-1020 or resources@dcoeoutreach.com.

The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time in our lives, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed and powerless, please remember there is always a military support system.    

PHOTO:: Though Tech Sgt. Sonja Williams, 94th Airlift Wing Airman and Family Readiness specialist, simulates a depressed Airman, holiday depression is real. During this time of the year, people may experience heightened stress, fatigue, financial constraints and loneliness triggered by the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Chelsea Smith)

Money matters: pledge to save

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

Let’s face it – money matters.

Military Saves Month GFX YT PINK USAF

We know that the state of our finances affects our work performance, relationships, and even our security clearances, so we want to keep our noses clean and avoid bad choices that will make us financially vulnerable. Regardless of age or rank, we share similar concerns: being able to afford the necessities, saving enough for emergencies and retirement, and feeling too restricted by a tight budget.

Saving can be intimidating, but it’s crucial … and possible.

Military Saves Week, which began Feb. 25 and ends March 2, addresses these concerns by encouraging military members and their families to take control of their finances, save for the future and reduce debt. The initiative is part of the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign and cosponsored by the Consumer Federation of America. This year’s theme is “Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically.”

On the Military Saves website, service members can find tips on putting aside some cash, getting out of debt, saving for emergencies, planning for a major purchase, saving for retirement and more.

Pledge to save here.

Keys to Success

by CMSAF James A. Roy
Exclusive for Air Force Live

Over the last three and a half years, many Airmen have asked me for tips to success in the Air Force. As I prepared for retirement, I compiled a list of a few things I think Airmen can do to achieve success.

1. Be great at what you do.
A young Airman’s most important task is to become proficient in his or her primary duty. Work toward being an expert in your field. You have to know your job inside and out to know how it could be done better. As we trade size for quality in our Air Force, we will need innovative subject matter experts more than ever.

2. Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.
Get outside your comfort zone and learn something new every chance you get. Approach every opportunity with an open mind, and trust the senior NCOs and officers who may see things in you that you don’t see. Apply for special duties, volunteer for leadership roles and seek education opportunities.

3. Be a bold leader.
Define success for the Airmen you supervise. Provide the resources they need and hold them accountable for achieving it. Deliver the required, appropriate feedback, and listen closely to your Airmen when they talk. What do they want? What do they need? How can you help? Tactfully and respectfully stand up for what’s right.

Hard to believe these simple things are the keys to success? It’s true. In the future, our Air Force will rely even more on Airmen to be great at what they do, to take on new challenges, and to accept increased leadership responsibilities.

I know you are up to the challenge.

Thank you for your service.

V/r,

CMSAF James A. Roy
16th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force