GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind --
After a busy year at Grissom, wing leadership dedicated the October unit training assembly as family weekend.
Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander, hailed it as a weekend to throttle back and take a break after a year packed with inspections, deployments and an air show.
Members were encouraged to bring their families and participate in family friendly activities and focus on building and maintaining relationships.
One of the focal points of the weekend was resiliency and self-care.
Due to an increase in the rate of suicides in the Air Force in 2019, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein recently ordered all wings to stand down for a day and focus on resiliency and suicide prevention.
Grissom members paused each morning of the UTA for workshops focused on self-care and mindfulness for their Wingmen.
“We’re taking a pause because we need to build stronger connections with each other,” said Lt. Col. Alex Jack, 434th Air Refueling Wing chaplain. “This whole weekend is about building those connections.
As of September 2019, 78 Airmen have died by suicide. That’s 28 more than reported in 2018.
In an effort to prevent more deaths and to encourage team building and morale, Air Force officials have given wing commanders the option of how they want to conduct the pause.
“This is not another day for training, to check the box and move on,” Jack said. “It’s an opportunity for conversations.”
During an all-call, motivational speaker Sporty King addressed the wing and reminded members to focus on self-care, in addition to helping each other.
King offered numerous tips and for members to focus and re-center if they are feeling out of balanced.
“Focus on you, and let others come into focus,” said King. “When you put yourself first, you can take care of everyone on your list.”
In stressing how key resiliency is for dealing with hardships, King said “It’s never about losing. It’s always about experiencing. What lesson can you get from each experience that you have?”
In each lesson, members were reminded that life happens and some of it may be difficult. However, there are a number of resources available to help.
King added, “We must constantly look for a way to redefine a negative situation.”
Local resources here at Grissom include the chaplain’s office, first sergeants, and psychological health services.