CMSAF, Airmen display resiliency on Mt. Fuji

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Resiliency is a word that every Airman serving today should know, as it's the cornerstone of the Air Force's Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

The CAF is built upon four pillars that help build resilient Airmen: physical, spiritual, mental and social.

Airmen from Yokota Air Base tested many of those pillars as they climbed Japan's tallest mountain on July 11. To reach the summit of Mount Fuji, hikers had to climb over 5,000 feet, starting at the fifth station at an altitude of 7,562 feet, and ending at the summit at an altitude of 12,389 feet. The climb can take anywhere from three to seven hours.

Yokota AB Airmen had a special guest climbing beside them: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody.

"Having the chief master sergeant of the Air Force climb alongside us was a great bonus," said Staff Sgt. Kelcey McDonald, a U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia audio engineer. "I got a chance to shake hands with him on the journey and talk with him at the top of the mountain."

But the trip up the mountain wasn’t an easy trip, and when challenged, Airmen had to rely upon those pillars of resiliency to accomplish their goal of reaching the summit.

"The challenges I faced were spiritual, mental and physical," McDonald said. "When I wanted to quit, I had to believe my higher power would help me make it to the top, even as I debated in my mind how much I had left, versus how much I'd already climbed."

Despite the challenges, McDonald was able to reach the summit, a feat which he attributes to his resiliency and the importance of having a wingman.

"Being resilient and having an Airman wingman were critical to my success," McDonald said. "You have another voice to encourage you and remind you that you are not alone in the journey."

Building that wingmanship is a core aspect of resiliency, according to Cody.

"Team building is building resiliency," Cody said. "When you learn things about people, get to know them on a more personal level, start to think about them a little bit differently, start to care about them differently, it does go to the resiliency."

That resiliency and wingmanship was important as members climbed to the top of the mountain, according to Cody.

"You draw strength from one another," Cody said. "People definitely drew strength from each other today."

In the end it was a great experience, heightened by having the chief master sergeant of the Air Force lead the way, McDonald said.

"This is another example of our top Airmen leading the way," McDonald said. "It was great to have him there at the summit to welcome those who have followed the path and achieved the same outcome."