CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The 27th Special Operations Air Maintenance Squadron recently hosted a resiliency day for maintenance personnel on Cannon Air Force Base, NM. The event’s goal was to help maintenance service members learn to withstand, recover, and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.
Resiliency days require extensive planning and precise execution but serve the important purpose of teaching Airmen not just to survive adverse situations, but thrive and emerge stronger than before.
“This was hands down one of the best resiliency days that I have ever had," said Master Sgt. Jason Evans, 9th Air Maintenance Unit assistant flight chief.
Teaching these valued techniques ensures the mission readiness of service members across the installation.
The event began with various personal stories of resiliency provided by 27th Special Operations Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Aiello, and the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group Chaplain, Capt. Kory Capps. Each leader shared uplifting examples they witnessed while working with maintainers throughout their careers.
Following the opening remarks, squadron members separated into small groups, allowing each of them the opportunity to participate in leadership-led questions and discussion panels. Service members were also encouraged to visit base agency displays to provide information and resources for various needs.
The resiliency day continued with a traditional 2.7-mile heritage ruck. Participants walked with their choice of packs containing weight equivalent to 9-16% of their body fat to demonstrate unit pride, or a 27-pound ruck to signify squadron pride. Throughout the march, participants also alternated carrying a wooden Air Force Special Operations Command logo.
Ending the day, Senior Master Sgt. Orion O'Neil, 9th Air Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent, discussed the air commando bush hat's origins and significance, also known as the AFSOC heritage hat. O'Neil shared that during the Vietnam War, air commandos wore the hat in solidarity with their Southern Vietnam allies, the Army Republic of Vietnam. The bush hats became a symbol of positive troop morale after Commander in Chief, Pacific Command Adm. Grant Sharp Jr. demanded commando units discontinue their wear, prompting a backlash from troops across Vietnam. The air commando’s commitment to their allies ultimately resulted in overturning the decision. Soon after that, the USAF declared the bush hat the official headgear for Vietnam Air Commando units, making it synonymous with resiliency.
O'Neil also uplifted those coordinating this impactful event.
"I am extremely proud of the NCO’s who planned and executed this resiliency day. Not only did they champion the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, but they also showed what it means to be a leader in an ever-evolving Air Force.”