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NEWS | March 19, 2014

Uniquely resilient: JBLE Airmen take different approaches to CAF days

By Senior Airman Aubrey White 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Whether it's once a quarter or once a month, units across Langley Air Force Base take unique approaches to conducting resilience training on Comprehensive Airman Fitness days.

CAF days allow U.S. Air Force Airmen and Department of Defense civilians to strengthen resilience by focusing on developing mental, spiritual, physical and social fitness.

According to Air Mobility Command's CAF Implementation Plan, the program represents readiness of the force and quality of life for Airmen, family members and civilians. This initiative helps reduce self-defeating behaviors, feelings of hopelessness and despair. It also yields stronger, healthier, happier and more resilient Airmen and families better equipped to manage the rigors of 21st century military life.

"Resilience is important because it allows us to grow with a purpose," said Master Sgt. Vangie Miller, 439th Supply Chain Operations Squadron resilience training assistant. "We have to learn to be aware of ourselves and those around us to give us the ability to adapt."

One way unit members can become more in tune with their colleagues is by dedicating a day to spending time with each other and really getting to know the person behind the uniform.

The 633rd Air Base Wing Legal office's planned CAF day is scheduled to begin with a physical training session designed as a team challenge in which Airmen will have to rely on each other, said Tech. Sgt. Gwendolyn Chapman, 633rd ABW Judge Advocate office RTA. After PT, the team will enjoy a healthy meal of whole grain waffles and pancakes, and smoothies. Unit members will also be provided with healthy recipes to use at home.

Following breakfast, the members will divide into "breakout sessions," where they'll have discussions about resilience-related topics.

"I've based [our training] around personal issues people have faced. You don't know what someone's dealing with at home," Chapman said. "This is an outlet for them to vent. It will allow them a comfortable place to do it."

In addition to a relaxed venue, resilience training also allows a squadron to develop a strong dynamic bond, as with the case of the 633rd Contracting Squadron.

"We're a little special; we're very close-knit," said Staff Sgt. Miranda Hikes, 633rd CONS RTA. "We're always doing something together ... My goal became to get the message through to people while having fun. [Games] really let your guard down because you're laughing and acting out."

No matter the method of training, the ultimate goal is enhancing one's ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands, strengthening resilience, according to the RTA Training Guide.

"I'm glad there are skills highlighted to assist with being resilient," Miller said. "Sometimes life becomes busy or overwhelming, and I think it is great to have the resources to remind us we are not alone. Something within all of us has given us the ability to make it this far. If we remain present amongst each other's lives, we can truly be the wingmen we all deserve."