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December Chief's Concerns

CMSgt. Robert Hux with the 169th MXS at McEntire JNGB, S.C., poses for his portrait on December 2, 2011.
(SCANG photo by TSgt. Caycee Cook)

CMSgt. Robert Hux with the 169th MXS at McEntire JNGB, S.C., poses for his portrait on December 2, 2011. (SCANG photo by TSgt. Caycee Cook)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- First of all, let me take this opportunity to congratulate everyone for the phenomenal job on the September Certified Readiness Evaluation! I believe it is accurate to say that you all presented your best to the inspection team. All of the effort and preparation paid off. As always, the Swamp Fox put their game faces on and played to win.

So now it is time to relax and enjoy some down time, right? Nope, not so fast! There is no time to bask in the limelight of a successful inspection. Now is the time to spin-up for yet another adventure. As I am writing this, we have jets and personnel deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., taking part in some critical training in preparation for the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment next spring. Here at home, everyone is busy taking care of medical requirements, computer-based training, weapons qualification, and numerous other items to ensure that everything is ready.

This is the time of year when we should be spending time with family and friends, enjoying Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas. I would encourage everyone to do exactly that. Even with all of the frantic activities going on, it is important that you take time to enjoy the holidays. Taking time off and getting away from the stresses of the job is critical to your well-being. Your families need this quality time with you as much as you need it with them. Regardless of whether you are a technician, an active-duty Airman, or a traditional guardsman, when you leave work for the holidays, leave work at work. Don't carry things home that might interfere with you relaxing and recharging.

It is also important that you continue to be aware of how those around you are dealing with the increased operations tempo and the holiday season. You are used to hearing the word "resiliency" over and over. Are you really taking this concept seriously? This time of year is especially difficult for many. You may know an individual who may be alone for the holidays. He or she may be a single active-duty member who can't make it home for whatever reason. It might not be a bad idea to give them a call and check in. Invite them over to share a meal or watch a game. The small things that we take for granted may mean a lot to someone spending this time alone.

Any disruption in one's life can be magnified by the holidays. Whether it is something physical, spiritual, social or mental, this time of year can make things seem much worse. It is imperative to remain vigilant and pay attention to those around us. This doesn't apply only to those here at McEntire, but it also includes those at your civilian job and even those in your family. It might not always be easy to identify when someone has something serious going on, but if you see something, don't turn a blind eye.

One thing that may not get mentioned enough is looking at yourself. Everyone needs to be able to recognize unhealthy responses to stress within themselves. Oftentimes this is more difficult than seeing it in others. Usually we resist asking for help until it is too late. Don't delay talking to someone if you feel like you are getting overwhelmed. On the other side of that, if someone comes to you with a problem, take it seriously. By the time someone decides to ask for help, the individual has probably been trying to deal with the issue for some time and has found it to be out of their control.

It never hurts to look someone in the eye and ask how they are doing. It could, however, hurt if you don't.