"Thoughts From The Running Trail" - A Team that CARES

Here at CJTF-HOA, we have the most advanced, effective weapons system in the US military  -- our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians. These people are the best our country has to offer - our nation's blood and treasure. And as the command team of this great organization, our most critical job is to ensure that this amazing weapons system remains fully functional at all times.  Thankfully, though, it's not one that we have to do alone. In fact, that mission belongs to every one of us who is a part of this magnificent machine. And there are plenty of people here who are available to help us do exactly that.

With this in mind, we've brought together a diverse group of caring people who are experienced in taking care of us - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This group represents agencies such as Fleet and Family services, American Red Cross, emergency management facility, religious affairs, and safety. They can assist with issues that can often arise during and after deployments, such as depression, post-traumatic stress, and family matters such as births, deaths and illnesses back home.

There are many things that can impact us as a team, but we'd like to highlight three areas in the command we all need to focus on.

RESPECT - As we've often talked about, respect is integral to keeping this weapons system fully functional. It's not simply a military formality of rank. It's something that goes in every direction - up, down and across all lines of rank and position. It's hugely important that leaders respect their subordinates in every way. In our profession, respect is automatic, but it also must be earned. We earn it by taking care of each other at ALL times, and making good decisions.

FRATERNIZATION - This issue is a complicated one, because in the culture of each service and job, this is defined slightly differently.  In some jobs, like aircrew, officers and enlisted mix and work closely together as a crew. In other jobs, there is little direct interaction between officers and enlisted. Regardless of what job capacity or service we are in, it's up to us to maintain our professionalism at all times and to keep our relationships at the appropriate level for good order and discipline.

FALSE PERCEPTIONS - In some areas of the military, we must battle the perception that asking for help is a negative thing. This perception -- this FALSE perception -- exists in some corners of our military today despite our best efforts to counter it. We need your help, as leaders and supervisors, to spread the word that asking for help - from a doctor, a chaplain, or even simply a fellow service member - is a sign of strength, not weakness.

In short, at one time or another, ALL OF US need help. There is no shame in asking for it, and we owe it to ourselves, our families, and our teammates. Deployments are not something that you "get better at" the more you do them. In fact, over time, they can take a toll if you're not vigilant. It's important to take care of ourselves - and each other. Let's be the best we can - let's be engaged leaders AND teammates - and succeed in our deployments together.

Have a great, safe week. See you on the running trail. Ubuntu!

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Leadership Commander Senior Enlisted Leader

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