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Smoke doesn't always mean fire Part I

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A Chief's Perspective

Submitted by Martina BorgA recent article titled 'VA reveals its veteran suicide statistics included active-duty troops' in the Stars and Stripes dated June 20, 2018 highlights suicide rates in the military. In light of the stressful environment we all experience because we are in the profession we are in, I wanted to share a little something about myself.I struggle.I sit here and wonder if I should even divulge this information. But I know that there are others out there who go through the exact same thing as me and I want you to know that you are not alone. No one wants to be seen as weak or be perceived as not being able to handle... life. And do you know what the crazy thing is? The logical portion of my brain says I am being stupid. Dumb, stupid and asinine because my life, as a whole, is pretty darn good. I've realized my dream of becoming a Chief. My husband is my rock solid support in all my endeavors. My son is doing so well, in fact, he was recently promoted to s…

Silence Broken

The following was submitted to the 20 Years Done Facebook page anonymously. I have mainly edited it for formatting, but otherwise this is the straight from the field information that leaders bemoan they are unable to receive.

You need a voice

As many of you know this blog started with me telling stories from my career. Those stories allowed me to explain the path my career took that eventually placed me in a position to affect some positive change for the people that worked for me, and some people that didn't. One time I even managed to write about a toxic leader abusing his people and get him to stop. It was a bit of a light-bulb moment for me. I could go beyond messages and instead I could be a voice for the silenced and do something to make the military better.
So I began writing about problematic decisions and events in the military. I received quite a bit of feedback through messages, texts, comments and shares. It's no coincidence that my blog began exactly three days after my Date of Separation because the truth is, military members don't have a voice.
In the Air Force, service members are restricted from sharing their honest thoughts and opinions by varying AFIs and the UCMJ. However, the Air Force Public…

We failed to quantify quality Airmen

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a FOIA request I submitted in July 2019. The intent of the request was to bring clarity to the career fields impacted by the ongoing suicide epidemic in the Air Force. If you remember, the response was flaccid.

I went on to show how the current AF/A1 Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly was dishonest when he gave an interview in 2015 suggesting that critical career fields were somehow shielded from the Force Reduction measures, colloquially called "The Air Force Hunger Games."

But to simply say certain career fields were cut is insufficient to explain how the cuts were determined and, moreover, which discriminators were used. And for that, we need to go back a ways...

In early 2011 the Air Force had transferred many SSgts and TSgts from fighter maintenance to heavy aircraft in an effort to shore up their issues in the heavy world. In effect, robbing Peter to pay Paul. This left us with a slightly lopsided organization: thick in the SNCO ranks, thin in the mi…

Air Force "Deep Dive" on Suicides Lands in the Shallow End

A year ago this week I wrote an article about what I believed was an impending and escalating suicide problem afflicting the Air Force. I was using my own military service, as well as information from my colleagues still serving, to piece together bits of information on suicides. In so doing I noticed a trend. But, before I get started a reminder: I am not an expert on mental health and nothing I say should be interpreted as medical advice.

As I wrote the article, more suicides were happening. I initially believed the issue was local to Holloman Air Force Base. However, as 2019 progressed it was clear this epidemic wasn't the exclusive domain of the 54th Fighter Group.

Prior to the Air Force announcing they had a suicide problem, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act[FOIA] request to the SecAF requesting all suicide metadata, to include Air Force Specialty Codes[AFSCs], or "job" data from 2009 to 2019. Three days after my request, the Air Force announced there was a …

I'm not dead or anything

Man, it's been awhile huh?

The last time I published an article was in February. Why the long break? Well, it's complicated.

My last article was posted at about the 1 year anniversary of my retirement. I had moved to my forever home in my forever state and started a new job. The new job was helping low income and first generation [college] veterans enroll in undergraduate programs all across the great State of Maine.

It was the first time in I can't remember how long where my job produced essentially zero stress. More importantly, my entire job was to help veterans reach their goals. Something that I craved since my retirement.

I didn't know what this blog was when I first started it. Really, I just wanted to tell a story I had been holding for a long time. Then it gave me the opportunity to relay some of the lessons I learned through my career.

Eventually the stories seemed a little less relevant and moved into current Air Force and military events with my critique o…

The Frivol-atility of Media Mismanagement

The following is an op-ed from Majora K. Vocink a dedicated reader of the blog and someone that I have served with over my 20 year career.

In an age when the necessity for field work in public outreach grows less and less with each technological advancement, the need for responsible and focused messaging via social media and other public platforms is paramount to the message’s success.While the vast majority of content generated by public affairs divisions across the Air Force is typically and benignly oriented towards serving the community, occasionally the typical morphs into the atypical.In such cases, the presentation of the message overpowers the message itself, and one misrepresentation undermines the strength of the message entirely.At best, it can come off as frivolous, and at worst, volatile.



Just such a miscalculated media effort recently came at the expense of the professionals at Hill AFB.Entitled The Big Picture - PSA #1  (seen above) the video intends to pan the lens fur…