CMSAF, wife visit F.E. Warren Airmen, families

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, recently traveled to the 90th Missile Wing to spend time with Airmen and their spouses.

The visit not only focused on the importance of the nuclear deterrence mission, but also on other key topics such as the Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Program.

"I think everyone knows, or I hope they know, that the nuclear mission is our number one priority in the United States Air Force," Cody said. "It is our strategic deterrence against any would-be adversaries for our nation and our partners."

Cody stressed the significance of the nuclear mission and noted that although a main priority, it is rarely honored or glorified.

"This is an important mission, but it is a mission where you are the silent hero," he said. "The nuclear surety of our country, this strategic deterrence, is absolutely essential to our national defense and national security. We have great men and women here at F.E. Warren and across our Air Force who secure this for our country and our nation. We could not be more appreciative and thankful for what they do."

Cody and his wife visited Airmen at their work centers and in group settings and round table discussions, to listen to their issues and concerns and answer their questions. They joined the Sexual Assault and Prevention Coordinator Mary Brown the 90th MW victim advocates, and other active-duty and guard component Airmen on base, to receive feedback on the program.

"We, as an Air Force, have made progress in the area of sexual assault, response and prevention," Cody said. "I think we are doing a lot, but we have a lot (more) to do. We will always have to work hard to ensure we create an environment where would-be predators cannot perpetrate this crime, and an environment that requires all Airmen to treat each other with dignity and respect. That takes a lifetime commitment by all of us to ensure that environment exists."

The Air Force has recently focused their sexual assault and prevention efforts toward the perpetrators and those who actively seek out and cause harm to others.

Athena emphasized that it is critical for people to know that attention needs to be placed on the predators.

"It isn't a random act; perpetrators have an agenda and are looking to find victims," she said. "We need to acknowledge and begin to eliminate those environments that allow them to wreak havoc or perpetrate a crime. I think once we begin to think that way, it makes it an environment where predators can't operate."

With the prevention of sexual assault a constant objective, the couple said they left the SAPR round table with a positive impression of the response team's efforts and their dedication to fellow Airmen. However, sexual assault prevention programs and events aren't the only place where the Air Force is making strides.

Throughout the force, recent initiatives have looked to Airmen to find solutions to save money, overcome challenges or streamline processes. One such initiative in the Air Force Global Strike Command is the Force Improvement Program.

"What's great about FIP is it puts the majority of the things we can get after in this part of our Air Force into the hands of the Airmen who execute the mission every day," Cody said. "It really is about putting issues into the hands of innovative Airmen who do the jobs and having them figure out better ways to do it. We find better ways to sustain and support not only our country or our partners, but ourselves, making a better quality of life and a better quality of work."

With such a strong emphasis on performance and innovation, an added focus has been on teaching Airmen to be resilient in times of trouble or stress. Learning to cope with stress often varies from person-to-person.

"There are a lot of different things someone can do to help with stress and it all falls on the resiliency of the person," Cody said. "You have to figure out a way to have an outlet from it. You can't let it consume you. If you don't have some way to deal with the different stressors of life, the different stressors of service, you are going to be over-stressed."

One way to help deal with stress comes from the ability to determine what things you can control, and those you have no control over, he added.

"Most things that we can't control are things that cause the greatest amount of stress," he said. "You either figure out a way to make a difference, to relieve that stress, or you have to figure out a way to move on. Sometimes, that is much easier said than done."

One of the ways Cody said he dealt with stress was having the support of his wife and children by his side.

"Our most precious resource has been our family, the way our family has always been there for each other in those stressful times," he said. "Even though it doesn't eliminate the stress from happening, it really helps you work through it. You also have to have a teammate in life. It can be your spouse, it can be a friend, it can be a family member, but you have to have someone you can talk to, someone you can confide in, people that can help you put things in the right perspective."

Athena stressed that a successful family has to be a team.

"The both of you have to step outside of traditional rules, out of those expectations, and develop a relationship that works both at home, and at work," she said. "When you are able to do that and can communicate and really share your needs, you will be successful. The military lifestyle never changes (and) work never stops. There's a blending of work and life. Families have to bring balance to that, reminding the member who is wearing the uniform where to set priorities when at home."

After visiting the base and meeting with 90th MW Airmen and families, the consensus was not only how important F.E. Warren's mission is to the nation, but how that mission is only possible with the dedication and support of the entire team.

"We really appreciate the opportunity to spend so much time with the Airmen and their families, to have the opportunity to hear some of their stories and to have the ability to thank them for what they do every day for our nation and our partners," Cody said. "Their service and sacrifice is not lost on anybody in our military, certainly not in our leadership in the Air Force."