Resiliency and spousal support

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Michael Black
  • 36th Mobility Responce Squadron commander
I write this piece on the 36th Wing's "Wingman Day," and one of today's major themes was resiliency, or the ability to bounce back from adversity, stress, setbacks--you name it. While families were invited to participate in Wingman Day activities, my own unit did not have any attendees other than our active duty members. I suspect that is a common trend with many families so busy with school, work and home at this time of year. However, we can take a few lessons on resiliency from those we live with, but who don't necessarily put on a uniform.

My squadron enjoyed an active November in our readiness mission. We deployed to three different countries in support of alliances and partnerships with foreign governments and other services, and even in support of our own Commander-in-Chief's theater visit. In addition, we hosted two formal training unit courses with a mobile training team all the way from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The whole 36th Wing had similar experiences. Busy, busy, busy for everybody. It was a great month for us, with a lot happening on and around Guam, and the upcoming holiday season is looking like a good opportunity to recharge our batteries.

What struck me while we had so many teams scattered about the Pacific was the constant support we had at home. Spouses teamed up with our Airmen to have Thanksgiving meals together. Families worked on crafts to either decorate for the holidays or give away as gifts. Single Airmen watched other families' children when the schedule became too hectic. People enjoyed one another's company.

One of the highlights of our unit holiday party last night was to take a moment to recognize and applaud our spouses and families for all they do for us as active duty members, whether we are at home or deployed somewhere in US Pacific Command's area of responsibility. We literally gave them a standing ovation, which they had earned, because they had such an important role in helping with the execution of our mission. The support network our spouses and families maintain in our absences or at our sides can truly make a good mission great, and Guam's remote location magnifies that network's value to Team Andersen's effectiveness.Don't stop reading now if you're single or unaccompanied. Our spouses and families enhance our mission for every member of every unit, and I have seen firsthand the boost in morale when we involve our families and welcome them to the areas of our work that we can (always maintaining operational security, of course). Work becomes a lot more enjoyable when we can share our unit pride with those who fight for us on the home front. The mission, here or elsewhere, is a little easier to focus on when we have someone backing us up on things at home.

That sounds a lot like resiliency. It's what we need to keep going when stress arises or when we need to get a little boost to recover from a setback. It also sounds like we have a great number of folks on Andersen AFB that may not wear a uniform but still make a great Wingman. As a squadron commander, I am thankful for the dedicated and tireless efforts our spouses, family, and friends contribute every time we have a task to accomplish.

The point of all this is to give a pause for thought: Many of us will have a little slower pace over the holiday season--some traveling, some remaining local--and it is a well-deserved opportunity for Team Andersen to catch our breath and have some quality time with our loved ones and friends. While you do that, consider a "thank you" to your spouses, children, significant others, siblings, parents, friends, coworkers--whomever you find helps you get on with or bounce back from a tough day. On top of that, be a good Wingman to your own Wingmen.

I'll say it here. If you are a spouse, child, relative, parent, or a friend of a Team Andersen Airman, thank you for what you do. You help make a tough mission a little easier and our world a little safer.

Enjoy the holiday season.