Commentary Search

  • One decision—terrible consequences –moving forward

    Have you ever wished you could change something you did in your past? If you had the ability to do so, what would it be and why?
  • Barriers to seeking care

    When our active duty members need medical care, there can be numerous perceived barriers that discourage them from seeking treatment. While folks may be struggling, whether with physical or mental health issues, they may be concerned with the unintended consequences that come with seeking care. Whether it is the space operator concerned with losing their clearance, the security forces Airman wanting to avoid a “Do Not Arm” status or the personnelist who has too much work to leave the office to be seen; the barriers to seeking care sometimes outweigh the desire to be healed. Across the Air Force and the Department of Defense, these perceptions can be one of the contributing factors to some of the highest rates of suicide we have ever had within the service community.
  • Airmen immersed in resiliency at Challenge Day event

    Hello! My name is Erica, and if you really knew me, you’d know that I’ve been going through a lot lately. Depression, anxiety, weight gain (and not a lot of weight loss), three new jobs in one new town, and a pretty devastating haircut (I don’t know who needs to hear this, but never cut your hair when you’re sad!). It’s not all downer stuff though, I have a ficus I have managed to keep alive and a therapist I really like (who told me not to cut my hair… but I didn’t listen). Sometimes balancing everything can get pretty overwhelming and isolating. It’s so easy to forget that other people, including those who work right next to you, are also struggling.
  • Investing in Resiliency

    A family member commits suicide; your friend gets grievously injured; you have to put your dog down. What if they all happened to you within the same month? My family experienced all of those things in August of this year. I want to share with you how we invested in our resilience before those things happened, and how we responded when the investments weren’t enough to overcome those challenges.
  • Lt. Col. Highlander: Encourage your team to think for themselves

    Since an early age I’ve always had an inherent curiosity about how things worked. How was this designed? How do these parts work together? I wanted to understand the how of everything. I quickly discovered I am one of those people who has “the knack” and understands how things work. Whether structural, mechanical or electrical, if something was broken or not working right (or in some cases, working just fine), I took it apart and figured out how to fix it. Naturally, a career in the engineering field became an extension of that curiosity and remains a key component of the person I am today. After all, engineering is the art of solving problems.
  • Effective Communication

    Ask any leader to summarize their experiences with communication, and be prepared to receive numerous examples of success and failure resulting from effective or ineffective implementation. The importance of effective communication is seen in our everyday lives across multiple professional disciplines. Despite the importance, most of us never give it a passing thought or place enough emphasis on the impact poor communications can have on our daily lives. An example of the potential impact loss of effective communication can have is easily seen by reviewing one of the worst aviation disasters to date: the loss of two Boeing 747s at Tenerife, Spain in 1977. After an extensive investigation, poor communication was identified as a contributing factor to the mishap. Internal flight deck communication suffered due to personnel experience levels, crew perceptions and language barriers between native and non-native English speaking flight crewmembers.
  • Do you know where the organization is going?

    On June 20, 2019, when I assumed command of the 13th Space Warning Squadron, I not only stepped into the role of squadron command but also took the helm as the installation commander for Clear Air Force Station, Alaska. I was amazed by the scope of responsibility and the multitude of activity going on in this installation in the interior of Alaska. However, through a process of pulling together a diverse team with varied skillsets across the installation, we have been able to identify the key pillars that are critical to the success of the entire organization. Being a remote installation versus just a squadron, the key pillars for us are a bit more diverse than those of a typical unit. The seven pillars that we identified include: development and taking care of people, space operations, maintenance, support functions, fire protection, installation defense and total force integration. In addition to the active duty members of 13th SWS, Clear AFS is also home to two Alaska Air National Guard Squadrons.
  • We need you

    From day one in our Air Force careers, we discuss the challenge of how to balance the mission and our people. “Mission first, people always,” or, “take care of your people and they’ll take care of the mission,” are common schools of thought. But one thing is certain – our core value of service before self is the center focus regardless of which theory you subscribe to. Our people sacrifice daily by giving every ounce of what they have to accomplish the mission because it’s our way of life, and our freedom depends on it.
  • Are You Happy Now?

    Knocking out professional military education, or PME, by correspondence is a rite of passage for officers. Without PME complete, you take yourself out of the running for future promotions. Many officers sign up immediately after finding out about a promotion to avoid any stigma associated with doing PME “late.” PME by correspondence means spending a lot of evenings and weekends hitting the books, prepping for tests, and writing essays. The subject matter ranges from pretty interesting to drier than the Sahara desert, but one assignment I completed for Air War College, now called senior developmental education, really had an impact on me.
  • I Laughed

    I laughed. It was an awkward, brief laugh, but a laugh nonetheless. That was my first failure during the conversation, but not my last.