From the Top: A Culture of Connection

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, Air Force Reserve Command commander

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, Air Force Reserve Command commander

Citizen Airman/Feb. 2015 -- This past year was busy. Our operational tempo remained high as the nation faced unexpected threats. We demonstrated our operational capability, strategic depth and surge capacity for the Air Force, and you performed superbly.

You should be proud of your contribution to our nation's defense. I am immensely proud of the way you have accomplished the mission. We need to continue to focus on our Airmen. As we begin 2015, we want to foster a culture of connection.

Our mission success is critical, and it is totally dependent on you as individual Airmen. We are the most capable and professional Air Force in the world, but none of this is possible without you. Chief Kirksey and I want to encourage you to get connected and make it a priority to look out for each other. You will hear more about the importance of connection from both the chief and me throughout the year. This year's Wingman Day theme is "I am Connected." We must continue to strengthen our team and build a force that is connected to each other and that has strong ties to the local community and to Reservists' families and friends. 

As your commander, I am concerned about your health and welfare. This past year, we lost too many of our fellow Citizen Airmen to suicide. Although there are no clear trends in what triggers suicides, we know being connected to a group can help prevent feelings of isolation and hopelessness. We need to foster stronger relationships and peer-to-peer relationships. Our team has worked hard to provide programs and resources to help you get connected.

I know many of you have heard me talk about the importance of our Wingman Toolkit app and website. The resources found within the Wingman Toolkit provide great guidance and information about comprehensive Airman fitness, focusing on your physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being. This tool is just one example of the resources available to you, and we are working to improve them every day. I challenge each of you to look for ways to get connected with your unit and your teammates.

Connecting to our Airmen and looking out for each other has to be a team effort. We all need someone to rely on from time to time. As a mostly part-time force, we need to get to know the Air Force Reserve members we serve with. I encourage you to take time to make personal connections with your fellow Airmen. We must continue to look out for each other and take time to ask the tough questions. It also means having the courage to ask for help in the midst of your own struggle. By creating strong connections, we create an environment where we have a wingman to call during challenging times. This is a battle we must win and one that will take the whole team. Thanks for all you do!