From the Top: Build resilience by improving physical, social, spiritual and mental fitness

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Air Force Reserve Command commander and chief of Air Force Reserve.

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Air Force Reserve Command commander and chief of Air Force Reserve.

Citizen Airman/August 2011 -- Within Air Force Reserve Command, we have a philosophy that the best way to handle a crisis is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. That's why our outstanding maintenance specialists spend countless hours ensuring our aircraft are always fit to fly. Our aircrews are trained to handle all kinds of in-flight emergencies, but in our business, an ounce of prevention is worth significantly more than a pound of cure.

This way of thinking applies to our people as well as our aircraft. Airmen and their families face tremendous challenges, and we will always be there to offer our care and support during difficult times. My focus is on making sure you are as prepared, in advance, as you can possibly be to anticipate and cope with any adversity or crisis that might come your way.

You heard about resilience at our recent Wingman Day events. To build on our Airmen's ability to keep moving forward in their lives after experiencing significant stress or a highly traumatic event, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz recently launched the Comprehensive Airman Fitness initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to enhance and sustain a culture of resilience by fostering mental, physical, social and spiritual health.

In this issue of Citizen Airman, we take a look at each of these four aspects of comprehensive fitness, and command experts offer some practical advice for improving your mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being.

Most of our Citizen Airmen have shown that they can handle whatever life throws at them; but for too many of our people, a traumatic life event or series of events leads to excessive alcohol or drug use, depression, physical abuse, divorce or even suicide.

While we always stand ready to help any member of the AFRC team cope with a traumatic event or deal with life's challenges, we know that the best time to deal with these situations is before they occur.

Be proactive. Expect the unexpected, and work on making yourself more resilient. Take a close look at the series of articles that begins on Page 14. I'm sure you will find something you can use to help you on your path to achieving comprehensive fitness and being better prepared for life's traumatic events.