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We Need You…

  • Published
  • By Maj. Boyd Hodges
  • 43rd Security Forces Squadron Commander
As I leave Pope this summer, I've reflected on the past two years of my assignment and realized how fortunate I have been to serve with this Wing and with each of you. I couldn't have performed my duties as "Top Cop" or Chief of Security Forces without each of you and your support. 

The fact that you felt compelled to serve your nation has already earned you enormous respect and gratitude from people in almost every location - whether a small town, large city or other country. 

If you've deployed to a combat zone and have participated in activities supporting operations abroad, then I am confident you have witnessed first-hand the smiles of children, or at least shared a few moments with people who still remember your contributions. 

People do in fact know you exist, and if for no other reason they know you exist because of what you represent. At some point in your life you have brought overwhelming joy to someone who won't forget that moment or special time spent with you. 

Occasionally, the enormous responsibility of our personal and professional lives can cause overwhelming pressure and even periods of depression or thoughts of suicide.
Unfortunately, for those of us working in law enforcement or who work in emergency services, on many occasions we respond to incidents involving truly great people who didn't ask for help, and gave in to that pressure that only hurt themselves and ultimately many others they may not have even realized cared. Feeling overwhelmed or experiencing enormous pressure is normal for military and family members of service members. 

After all, air superiority requires members to be on their game at all times. However, when stress or feelings of lowliness overpower your life, it's time to make a great military decision and get help. Have a Wingman. 

Our Wing Commander is absolutely right that having a Wingman and getting to know people helps relieve the pressure and reduces unnecessary stress that bounds us to feelings of helplessness. We need each other and your Air Force definitely needs you. Have fun on the job and do not be afraid to ask for help. 

Remember, someone is thinking of you right now and there is nothing you can't overcome. Our chaplains are some of the most wonderful people I know, and our mental health staff is exemplary and will spend as much time as you need to help you in any setting. Don't let stress or serious issues ruin your life. I would rather bring some donuts to your house than flashing blue or red lights! 

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the men and women of the 43rd Airlift Wing and their families for the enormous contributions to your nation during times of conflict and economic concerns at home. I hope this year brings you all the personal joy and professional success you desire.