JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Medical personnel and their support affiliates from around 25th Air Force gathered together September 2017 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland for a three day summit to discuss caring for and optimizing the mission performance of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance warriors.
Attendees at this year’s 25th Air Force Surgeon General Summit reviewed initiatives and processes to improve the enterprise’s way ahead. They also reviewed and updated their portion of the 25th Air Force Strategic Plan, said Col. Paul Young, 25th Air Force Surgeon General.
"I see (on the agenda) interesting sessions and working group activities that should provide you a golden opportunity to extend and finalize mission support engagements, initiatives and countermeasures that address many of our biggest concerns in the community, which include resiliency, stress, nutrition and fatigue,” Young said in his opening remarks. “There are important issues to cover.”
Young intends for the annual conference to build skills and processes for ISR caregivers.
“We are going to make sure when you walk out of here that you feel like you have gotten something out of this, to include an awareness of what we do, why we do it, where we do it, how we do it, and the meaning of all of that when it comes to the national security level of interest that we take on,” Young said. “We are trying to make this into an event that will be counted as a formal training for this mission set.”
The skills attendees learned will be used for all types of ISR warriors, not just those in 25th Air Force.
“We represent the 25th Air Force as a Numbered Air Force under (Air Combat Command), Young said. “And as that operational arm for what we do in the areas of (Remotely Piloted Aircraft), ISR and Cyberspace, we are that unit for the Air Force component, as well as the Joint Services components, to take on the responsibility in the holistic medicine role as the Fifth Core Mission lead when it comes to dealing with these mission sets.”
Dr. Allan Ogle, 480th ISR Wing psychologist, said the summit is a great opportunity to share information between medical personnel who are trying to help the line units executing global missions in ISR and RPA operations.
“We are learning a lot from each other. It’s a chance to build some relationships and connections for future exchange of information," he said. “We are learning a lot from each other, and there were some great ideas shared, suggestions for developing policy, and sharing processes and information about some of the key factors we need to address for ISR and RPA Airmen.”
Ogle said Dr. Arena Nicholas, from Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., shared her expertise in how to improve sleep in shift workers.
"She educated us to train personnel who are on shift work how to optimize their performance and maintain balance in their personal lives as well,” added Ogle.
One of the big challenges for ISR Airmen is when they work several days of night shifts, then have three or four days off with their families. The Airmen want to spend time with their families but that can be very detrimental to performance.
“Often times, the temptation or the challenge is not to force yourself to be up when you need to be asleep,” he said.
Nicholas was able to give attendees strategies to teach Airmen so they can maintain optimal performance when working with a weapons system, but also be there and present with their families at targeted times, Ogle said.
Tech. Sgt. Melinda Gueston, 70th ISRW Surgeon General Flight chief, said the summit motivated her by providing information on more things she can do to help the Airmen she works with.
“Sleep deprivation is an issue at the 70th ISRW, so we hold classes on good sleep habits, nutrition and other things that can help with sleep for shift workers,” she said. “It is very inspiring to know there are things we can do within our units.”
In addition to caregiving sessions during the three day summit, attendees discussed 25th Air Force global operations, Air Force Medical Service leadership on the ISR, RPA and Cyber core mission elements, the 25th Air Force Surgeon General’s mission, vision, initiatives and goals, Human Performance Optimization and other essential elements to maintaining mission ready Airmen worldwide.