Thriving in stressful times amid sequestration

  • Published
  • By Colonel Steven Vautrain
  • 439th Airlift Wing commander
As you know, sequestration has been enacted. Flying hours are being cut, tuition assistance has been suspended, conferences are being cancelled, and Department of Defense civilian employees must plan on being furloughed without pay for one day a week beginning in late April. These cuts will affect every civilian and ART on base directly, and everyone else on base indirectly. It will negatively impact all of our mission areas; operations, maintenance, support and medical.

The stress on the Patriot Wing will be significant; we need to work together to prevail. Now is the time for us to apply the lessons learned on Wingman Day.

The Wingman culture emphasizes one-on-one communication and relationships to maintain mental, social, physical, and spiritual fitness critical to survival in difficult times. We need to reinforce good Wingman behaviors: getting involved (knowing your fellow Airmen), staying alert (watching for signs of danger from whatever source), and taking action when necessary to protect your Wingman. We can help each other through tough times by applying these principles.

This approach to wellness focuses on developing positive behaviors that equip and enable Airmen to make smarter, safer choices. They help promote both individual and organizational resilience and create a sense of belonging among Airmen, spouses, children, civilians and the community as a whole. Tending to the needs of others, as well as your own needs -- in mind, body, and soul -- creates a network of encouragement. The goal of Wingman Day was to prepare individuals for an adverse event before it happens. It allows Airmen to be proactive instead of reactive. You'll be better able to handle adversity if you prepare for it.

I expect all of you to apply the principles of Comprehensive Airman Fitness learned on Wingman Day and be prepared for adversity both at work and at home. Resiliency will give us the strength we need in order to face these uncertain times. Our civilian personnel office and Airman and Family Readiness Center are available to render assistance, but it is important that you take care of yourselves, take care of your wingmen, and take care of your families.

Sequestration, the Continuing Resolution and possible force structure changes are all adverse events. When combined, the effects can look overwhelming. We have faced challenges in the past, including the 2005 BRAC and more than a decade of war -- and we have thrived. I'm confident that the Patriot Wing will be able to conquer these current challenges and whatever other challenges are thrown our way in the future.