CJCS visits Aviano AB, stresses resiliency to overseas service members

  • Published
  • By Airman Ryan Conroy
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lauded service members on their selfless service and encouraged resiliency throughout the forces during a day-long visit Dec. 11 here.

The highest ranking military officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, accompanied by Marine Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with leadership throughout the day and held a base all-call as part of the United Services Organization's 'Annual Chairman's Holiday Tour.' 

Dempsey fielded questions from Airmen regarding budgetary concerns, force management and physical fitness policy changes, while stressing the prominence of the continued sacrifice of the Armed Forces' men and women and emphasized the necessity of resiliency throughout the upcoming holiday season. 

"I remember, even in my own career as a single Solider, being away from home that first Christmas and I remember how sad it was," Dempsey said. "I'm going to make sure that (service members at forward bases) are aware of the fact that even though they are serving in places that are pretty exciting -- they are still away from home. They're away from home because we've asked them to be away from home. I want to remind them of that, express my appreciation and also encourage them to recall that, in our profession, this is what we do."

Dempsey communicated that the service member's profession, regardless of job title, is deployment readiness and promoting the nation's interests abroad. 

Understanding that depression may be a factor this holiday season, the 18th CJCS reflected upon the influence and significance of battle buddies and wingmen.

"We all know how important a battle buddy is," Dempsey said. "The battle buddy system is an integral part of our lives, especially as young as some of our service members happen to be at this point. It's important you have someone who can help look after you, and you look after them." 

Battaglia stipulated that the battle buddy, or wingman, concept encourages Airmen to grow resilient. Having someone to rely on when enduring hardship allows for service members to maneuver through adversity when it transpires.

"You can't, or shouldn't, go through life alone," Battaglia said. "No matter who you are, we all have problems, we all go through challenges and adversity ... battle buddy is just a word that epitomizes the methodology of relying on something or someone when life throws us speed bumps and trips us up. The wingman can be a spouse, the service member's NCO or company grade officer; it's just important to have somebody -- it's vital."

With Airmen relying on each other, service members will be able to prolong the Air Force's illustrious legacy, exemplified through a long-standing dominance in the air. 

"April 15, 1953 was the last date that anyone attacked the U.S. Army on the ground from the air. That's your standard -- to never let that happen again. Since 1953, you have kept our country safe by absolutely dominating the air domain and that's really what we need you to do."