The threads that bind us

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Justin Parsons
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing

Each member of Team Beale is like one of many threads in the American flag. When threaded together it forms an emblem of strength but when it becomes worn, like us, it requires we all hunker down, lend support and find a way forward.

This is what Lt. Col. Ahave Brown, Beale's Wounded Warrior Transition Team (WWTT) commander, thinks about when speaking on Beale's new program, which aims to help Airmen being medically discharged transition into the civilian world.

Wing leaders envisioned the program with the goal of creating an environment where these Airmen could focus on the administrative requirements of their situation, as well as be alongside fellow Airmen facing similar issues.

“The program seeks to create a physical reminder that they are of value to Beale and continually challenges them to be the best they can be,” said Brown. “What we don’t want is our Airmen in this situation to believe they hold no value.”

To get the program started off on the right foot, Wing leaders sent WWTT members to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to examine a similar program and implement its most effective qualities at Beale.

"The commander came to us and directed us to take what we saw, improve upon it and kickstart our own version here," said Brown.

The program brings Airmen, who would otherwise go through the medical discharge process alone, together in a central location where they can gain from each other's experiences with structural support built in.

"It's a fully self-supported team with everyone having an assigned duty within the team,” said Master Sgt. Adrian Shine, WWTT first sergeant. “Their whole mission is to focus on their transition so it can go as successfully as possible.”

Members have a fully dedicated support system to include a chief master sergeant, first sergeant and medical care workers who are on call to facilitate their needs in the program, said Shine.

Brown said he asks the Airmen who participate in this program to support each other and leave it in better shape than when they started.

"We ask everyone to help other members who are coming into the program,” said Brown. “Someone is always coming in and someone is always leaving. They can benefit from the things you've gone through, the appointments that need to be made, the obstacles and maneuvering through the system that needs to be done."

According to Shine, these Airmen are going through one of the most trying times in their career and it’s imperative they know Beale has their back as they enter this new chapter in life.

"Let us help you in preparing for your transition into the civilian world," he said. "We're thankful that you took the oath and served alongside us and this is one way we can show our appreciation for what you've done."