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Chief's View: Each One Reach One

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey, Air Force Reserve Command command chief

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey, Air Force Reserve Command command chief

Citizen Airman/Feb. 2015 -- Welcome to 2015! This year we want to focus on connections. In the December issue of Citizen Airman, we talked about the importance of comprehensive Airman fitness. Wellness for our Airmen and their families involves physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects. This year my focus for team wellness is going to be based on the idea of creating connections.
 
So why are we focused on connections this year? In 2014, we lost 10 of our enlisted Airmen to suicide. These deaths impact the entire force and trouble me as your command chief. Although the circumstances were different in each case, one common element was the fact that all of the Airmen were alone when they made the choice to end their life. We have to do a better job of reaching out and connecting to our Airmen, particularly our enlisted force.
 
As traditional or part-time Reservists, it can be challenging to stay connected. For those of you who don't live close to a base, it is easy to feel isolated when you are not with your unit. Develop a habit of finding one or two Airmen in your organization you can connect with outside of work. Develop relationships with your fellow Airmen and leverage those relationships during days away from your Reserve assignment. In addition to connecting with your fellow Airmen, take the time to make friends outside of work. For those of you with families, encourage them to make connections to other spouses and families in the unit.
  
I encourage you to focus on the peer-to-peer connections. We all know it is important for supervisors and commanders to know their people, but how well do you know your peers? Take time to get to know those Airmen around you and build relationships outside of the office. Stay in touch throughout the month, not just when you are at your Reserve job.
 
I recently spoke with one of our Airmen about suicide prevention. She explained what it was like to feel so trapped and desperate that she felt she had no way out. In fact, she had a plan to end her life. She was fortunate, because she had made the time to make connections and had a wingman she called when she was at her lowest point. For her, a peer-to-peer connection made the difference and saved her life.
  
Are you the kind of wingman a friend can call if he or she is in trouble?  If not, I encourage you to work on developing those types of relationships and connections. One day you may be able to save a life.
  
We have to build connections continuously. We can't wait until someone is in need before we reach out. Make sure you are making an effort to make quality connections during this coming year. Both General Jackson and I believe that together we can build stronger Airmen, stronger families and a stronger Air Force Reserve. And remember, I'm here for you!