Resiliency: Part of every Airman’s life
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Osan Air Base leaders designated June 21 as Wingman Day, as the Department of Defense announced the need to care for each other as a growing need in the military.
Demands on Airmen are higher than ever. Deployments, separation from family, low manning and tight fiscal constraints can cause an immense amount of stress.
"Wingman Days are meant to reinforce the wingman concept as the foundation to building resilient Airmen," said 1st Lt. Jessica Zamparini, Osan Wingman Day project lead. "Having this time set aside allows us to engage in earnest discussion with our co-workers to find skills and strategies related to health, mission performance and unit cohesion."
Air Force installations are required to hold two base-wide resiliency training days annually, to discuss the importance of resiliency and the options that Airmen have available to them to help alleviate life's stressors.
During Osan's training, topics emphasized awareness, accountability, team-building, and communication through interactive discussion.
Topics ranged from how to cope with financial stressors to recognizing signs of depression, Zamparini said.
Already in 2012, the Air Force has had more than 35 suicides -- 15 in January alone.
The most important way to help someone with resiliency is to talk to them, said Lt. Col. Travis Adams, 51st Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight commander.
"Often just talking to someone about the struggles they are experiencing provides relief," Adams said. "If you are sincere and bring up your concerns at an appropriate place and time, you will provide an invaluable service to that person."
Seeking help from others is a critical pillar of total health and fitness, he said. The acronym A.C.E is used when caring for an individual in need: Ask, Care, Escort.
"Seeking help from others can take many forms, but most often we seek help from friends and family to provide comfort, to lend a listening ear, or to give us a sense of perspective on our problem," Adams said.
Individuals can contact mental health professionals, chaplains, leadership or military life consultants for any additional help.
"There are many reasons to help those around us become more resilient," Adams said. "Most important is that it is the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do as a human, an American, and an Airman."