Commander's Column July 2017
By Colonel Andrew P. Keane, 108th Wing
/ Published June 29, 2017
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
Summer is here!
For most of us with children, school has recessed for the year and we enter the fun and sun of summer. Hopefully, you have blocked out time for vacation with family or maybe a day or two at the beach. Either way, it’s essential that you do something to “re-charge your batteries”, because it is crucial for your personal fitness and well-being
In order to supplement this, we are spending some time this UTA in order to re-focus on safety and Comprehensive Airman Fitness. First safety: One 4 hour block of the Uniform Training Assembly is set aside for Safety Down Day. The goal is to spend time on safety as it relates to your specific career field. There are many AFSCs within the wing and the safety challenges you face will vary widely depending on where you work. However, it is when we take our eye off safety that complacency and/or carelessness can creep into our working environments. Any and all risks we take should be tempered by solid risk management and training. So I challenge you to be attentive and re-double your focus on safety during this Safety Down Day.
The second aspect of health this UTA will be on our Wingman Day. The purpose of Wingman Day is to pause our regular activity and take time to enhance our ability to recognize and effectively intervene with each other in times of distress. Wingman Day is an opportunity to build resilience and prevent self-harm and suicide.
This year the topic and goal of Wingman Day is to build a supportive work environment that publicly encourages help-seeking behaviors. The hope is that this time will allow us to briefly and strategically disengage from the pressures of our operational tempo, and turn us toward each other with a public commitment to each other's wellbeing. Much like our approach to safety down day, this will not be a “cookie-cutter” approach, and squadrons will have the latitude to adjust their activities as best fits their need.
This also allows each office the ability to take the time to sit-down and check in with their airmen. I would also encourage members to do the Health of the Force survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/hotf, this provides leadership with critical information about the overall health and well-being of our service members and informs future efforts to ensure appropriate resources are available to every Guardsman.
Please use this time to maximum effect, as YOU are the most important weapon system we have in the wing! I hope each and every one of you have an enjoyable and safe summer!