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Team Kadena races toward wingmanship

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- What is resiliency? And how do people cope with serious life issues? Over the last few months these are questions I have asked myself over and over again.

Recently undergoing several major personal challenges myself, to include the ending of a marriage and a very close family member being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, I have had to find ways to stay resilient and cope with life stressors.

Knowing how to manage and cope with problems in a healthy way is extremely important in order to carry on with the day-to-day mission and life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to discover the answers to those questions during the Community Quest Race held by the 18th Wing and Schilling Community Center.
The Community Quest Race was a spinoff of the reality TV show "The Amazing Race" which consisted of 13 teams racing to12 different locations around the base while participating in different competitions in order to gain the next clue to advance in the race.

The race itself was a stressor, and at times it was really frustrating trying to work quickly and under pressure to solve the clues and compete in the challenges while trying to work together as a team. In a lot of ways the race mimicked the stress and pressure Airmen feel from day-to-day life, such as working like a  flight and having to complete a task or a job to get the mission done.

There were several portions throughout the race that my partner and I were frustrated and butted heads, but as we continued to race to each location we discovered that the various places had a theme that related to one of the four pillars of wellness.

Several of the places that we visited offered a different service or message about finding a way to get help or develop away to become resilient.

Throughout my career as an Airman in the U.S. Air Force I have had numerous opportunities to talk and learn about the different pillars of wellness, which consists of being physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually well, but the race provided me and the other participants a different perspective about what those foundations really mean and how to be a good wingman.

As an NCO in Public Affairs I went into this race thinking that I knew everything there was to know about the different services the 18th Wing provides to people needing to expand their life skills toolboxes. I was really surprised during the challenge that there was so much I really didn't know such as the different ways the United Service Organizations supports deployed families through book reading, or the personal advice services offered by the legal office.

As we competed in the different challenges at each stop I learned about the different places and how they contributed to wellness and wingmanship.
I began to understand that no matter how frustrating or difficult the challenges were, my partner and I were ultimately there for each other, and despite our differences we could come together to help each other overcome the obstacles we faced.

The lessoned I learned during the Community Quest Race are tools that I will be able to help myself or others cope with adversity and use towards my success to be a resilient Airman and carry on with my day-to-day mission and life.

Remember that the training we receive provides us with tools for ourselves to learn from and use. Even if the information isn't relevant to you, it may be relevant to someone else you know and you may be able to use that information to help them through a difficult time.