Table of Contents
· TAG's Message
· Family Appreciation Day
· Wing Welcomes Back Airmen
· 50th Opens Bank
· Mobilization Page
· Acting Governor Salutes Troops
·Saluting the Troops
· Class 48 Wins No-Bell Prize
· Town Holds Parade for Soldiers
· A Word from the Chief
· 108th Participates in Exercise
· Four Changes of Command
· Short Rounds
· GSAB & DSAB Deploy
· Army & Air Enlisted Promotions
· Last Round: Somewhere over Iraq
· Family Assistance Centers & Family Readiness Centers
· Guardlife Homepage

Guardlife - Volume 30, No. 3

A Word from the Chief

By the New Jersey Command Chief Master Sergeant Paul M. Gunning

Prior to the Gulf War in 1991, the New Jersey Air National Guard deployed to established military facilities throughout the world where we felt safe most of the time.

We completed our missions successfully and with outstanding results. The Air Force knew what the New Jersey Air National Guard could accomplish.

During the past few years, our deployments have been to very austere areas with rugged conditions. We encountered an enemy different than before – an enemy who will use any means to kill Americans including women and children. Deployments have suddenly become much more dangerous for our Airmen, leading to the coining of a new term – Battlefield Airmen. The senior leadership of the New Jersey Air National Guard has the responsibility to provide the combatant commander with trained assets for the battlefield. Airmen must begin preparing now.

Completing your Air Force Specialty training on time at the three, five, and seven-level is critical to mission accomplishment. During your Air Force Specialty training, completion of your war skills training is a must - as you never know when higher headquarters could deploy your Unit Tasking Code. As you continue your training, insure you complete your Professional Military Education as this training provides you with supervisory and leadership skills and additional combat training, which could be very useful on the battlefield.

As you train, prepare your family and be up front with them about your military occupation. Make plans, discuss possible deployments, review your family’s financial situation and always include your children.

Also, be candid with your employer about your membership, training requirements, training dates and projected mobilizations and deployments. Recognize your employer for his/her support through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Program. Above all else, prepare yourself for the battlefield – mentally, spiritually and physically. Our new “Fit to Fight” program is more than just professional image; it means being healthy and in shape in order to take the fight to the enemy while protecting oneself.

Military life is inherently stressful; however, stress has recently been taking its toll on our Airmen. The combat environment, numerous deployments, increased work hours, low manning in critical Air Force Specialties, continuous workloads, force restructuring, potential base closures, family and financial issues, employer concerns and worry about safety are causes of stress. It is important to know where to go for help if necessary and properly direct our Airmen when they need assistance. Commanders, Supervisors, and Airmen must be able to identify stressors and assist Airmen with coping skills.

Suicide results from an inability to cope with stress. The Air Force suicide rate is skyrocketing. Fifty-seven Air Force personnel committed suicide in the past year. Suicide prevention and life skills programs are in place, however, these programs alone cannot solve this problem. The Air Force Chief of Staff recently authored an article entitled, “Stressed Airmen – Who’s Your Wingman?” We as Airmen must never fail in taking care of our wingmen on the ground and watching out for them. Losing an Airman to suicide, an accident or an alcohol related incident is evastating
to the rest of the unit. Such a loss may be preventable if intervention occurs early.

Maj. Gen. Rieth always reminds our organization that we are family, whether Airmen, Soldiers, or civilian employees. A solid family relationship is established
through awareness, communication, teamwork, and sensitivity. Please remember that you are never truly alone and there are always “family” and “wingmen”
standing behind you - no matter how we feel. In closing, as we approach the holidays, please spend time with your families and thank them for their support of your service. Have a safe and Happy Holiday season and thank you for your service and remember to Look Out For Your Wingman.