Developing highly resilient Airmen

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sergeant Karen F. Beirne-Flint
  • AFOSI Command Chief

Our foundational Line of Effort highlights the absolute necessity to develop an exceptional force.  As we sat and discussed priorities and mapped the road to The AFOSI We Need, the health of our personnel remained at the forefront, and you can see it is vital to success in each of the four lines of effort that make up the 2018 Strategic Plan.

As we approach the end of 2019, we face surmounting mission requirements and the highest Air Force suicide rates in recent history.  As the Air Force’s most powerful weapon system, we are reminded of the need for continuous upkeep and concerted effort towards building and maintaining resiliency. Think about it, how is it we have 70-year-old aircraft still projecting airpower?  It’s the time and effort we invest in taking care of these weapon systems.  It was under this premise that we devised Operation Developing Our ‘300’ (DO300).

DO300 is the vehicle that will carry us collectively towards a level of connectedness in the workplace that fosters the trust required to guarantee mission success and keep our weapon system and their families strong!  This trust will allow us to admit when things are starting to overwhelm us; when tasks are piling too high; when struggles at home are making it hard to give the attention needed to focus on the job. Everyone has a point where, when reached, things go pear-shaped, and sacrifices are made in some areas of our lives to give more energy to others.  This point is not the same for us all, and it is not easy to know where this point is for others, or for ourselves. This point will not likely look the same for each of us.  Some sink into “ruts” or get in a “funk,” while others hyper focus on tasks and show no signs of stress. The most fortunate of us develop healthy coping mechanisms that relieve the strain and allow us to grow and get through tough times. For those of us who have not refined processes for coping well, or who have gone beyond our means for coping, resources are available to help the process along, but a sometimes-equal number of personal barriers can be present that hinder effectively reaching for the aid. Building trust in personal and professional relationships invites open and honest communication that makes others aware of the pressure we are under and allows them to support us as we navigate our trials.

The time and flexibility DO300 offers us all, to take a break from focusing daily on our customers and focus instead on developing ourselves and our relationships, is invaluable. We are receiving a steady stream of positihers to try for themselves and their teams.  We also want to showcase these events and share the tools you find useful with others. As a start to this plight, we launched the Operation Developing Our ‘300’ SharePoint site.  It has links to resources and inspiring stories from those who have found themselves overwhelmed by life events and found ways to get through these times and share the details with others.

The days when the stigma of mental health treatment or counseling inevitably resulted in loss of access and discharge are long gone. What this family does for its country is hard; the foundational Line of Effort sets an expectation that we use all available resources to ensure we are developing an exceptional force—this means getting the support you need now, so you are able to do whatever you want when you’re 70!  Your OSI family is here to support you in any way we can; you are not alone!