HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

February Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Peter Wiedel, with Joint Forces Headquarters, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his portrait, Jan. 22, 2014.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Peter Wiedel, with Joint Forces Headquarters, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his portrait, Jan. 22, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- What is resiliency? Webster's Dictionary states, "Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change." That's what we ask of our fighting force, our Airmen, we want them to be resilient. We expect them to withstand any shock without permanent damage to their wellbeing. We have resilience binders, forms and classes that we have to attend or update so we can show that we care about our wingman. Is this the way it should be? No, but it is necessary. I hope that we are all serious about the responsibility we have been charged with to take care of our Airmen, to be concerned with their wellbeing.

I like the fact that this form forces us to sit down periodically with our wingman. When we do sit down, we need to ask them how they are doing and to see if they've had any major changes in their life. We all should be better at listening; we do have two ears and one mouth. I wish we didn't have to use these forms or classes and we could just reach out to our people, but it is necessary to monitor our forces. Unfortunately, we don't always have the time to see how someone is doing so we have to make time to listen to what is going on in their world.

There are some people that state everything is unfair to them, so you sit them down and ask what the problems are. Then, they explain they are being treated unfairly because they have to do CBT's, or show up for drill to get paid. I am exaggerating about what their complaints are, but it usually amounts to nothing major. However, this desensitizes you to the person with real problems. How do we know what is going on in this person's life that they might actually need your help? If we don't ask them, and then listen to them, we can't help them. Sometimes all it takes is to listen! What happens if Airman John Doe is having a hard time and the worst day of his life, but you simply ignore him? Then results could be an endangerment to themselves or someone else.

I go back to: we have two ears one mouth, ask how someone is doing and then listen to what they say. Help them if you can. Don't you think bad endings could have been made better if we had listened and acted and got that person the help they deserved?

I realize that I mess with people; most know that I'm not doing it to them out of hate. I need to be careful of the possibility there are some that don't know. You could say it is good-hearted teasing, if there is such a thing. It usually is a two-way street, I get just as much I give. I've always said that if I messed with them it shows that I like that person. To this day, I tease my wife about different things, and she gives it right back to me. But I see more of these young people hurting themselves just because someone has teased them. I say tease, however, most of the time the things I read about are just plain hateful. You can never tell how your actions will affect a person, and push them to think they don't have any choice but to do something drastic.

I believe as human beings we are by nature, a kind and caring people. We don't come out of our mother's womb filled with hate. Please treat people the way you liked to be treated. As I was writing this article and trying to get my head wrapped around this idea, someone handed me a Dear Abby article, "A new year and a fresh start." In this article there was a bunch of good ideas for new resolutions. Here are a couple of the good ideas for a New Year's Resolution and they all begin with JUST FOR TODAY, "I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable to those who cross my path, I'll not speak ill of others, I will have the courage to do what is right, and finally, I'll refrain from improving anybody but myself."

If we try to do something better one day at a time, we might just change how we act. I believe just for today, I will stop picking on or teasing people in general. I hope I can make it through, for a couple days in a row. All this cyber-bullying is one of the reasons we have resiliency training, active shooter training, and why we need to talk with our wingman. Keep an eye on their mental wellbeing.

Bottom line: treat people the way you want to be treated, and keep an eye on your wingman!