Steel Airmen Support Team, assemble! Helping agencies provide outstanding assistance regardless of career status

  • Published
  • By Marjorie A. Schurr
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Let’s be honest for a moment: life can be overwhelming. Writing resumes, maintaining a budget, succeeding in job interviews, managing difficult family relationships… And if you’ve served in the military? That just makes it all the more difficult to figure things out between deployments, transitioning from active duty to reserve service, balancing civilian and military careers, and interacting with family who may not understand what a military member is going through.


Luckily, there is a team here at the 911th Airlift Wing that is ready and willing to help.


This year, all of the helping agencies assigned to the 911th AW—the Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC), director of psychological health (DPH), sexual assault response coordinator (SARC), violence prevention (VPI), personal financial counselor, the chaplain and chapel staff, and Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC) to name a few—combined efforts to form the Steel Airmen Support Team.


“The Steel Airmen Support Team started because we recognized a need to be an overall helping agency, one where Airmen could come and meet with any entity under the team and feel that their privacy was protected,” said Jennifer Lefave, interim chief of 911th AW A&FRC.


Located together in building 209, this team of elite helpers serves as a one-stop shop to get Airmen where they want to be in life.


“It’s a one-team effort,” said Joshua Hudson, 911th AW DPH. “We are one cohesive unit with individual specialties. If it’s Sexual Assault Awareness month, we’re all in. When there is an Airman who needs help, we all work together to help them.”


Military members in general face unique challenges that most other citizens aren’t necessarily familiar with. But for reservists and guardsmen, those problems become even more complicated.


“Active duty care is easier in a way, because active duty Airmen face similar situations and have access to similar options,” said Hudson. “But for reservists, no case is the same. Even when coming back from deployment, you’re not just coming back to your military career; you’re coming back to civilian life too, and it’s different every time.”


The Steel Airmen Support Team was designed to specifically target the hurdles that reservists face, no matter the status of their career.


Are you retiring? The Steel Airmen Support Team is there to help you shift into a comfortable retirement. A personal financial counselor is available for Steel Airmen to lean on—for free!—to help ensure that they and their families are financially ready to retire. The A&FRC also has community contacts for veterans to help with everything from retiree health services to home repair.


Looking to advance your civilian career? The Steel Airmen Support Team has several services to help, including resume writing classes, contacts with local employers, and more.


Deploying? The A&FRC has several supports available to Steel Airmen and their families during and after deployment to ensure families are taken care of. Not only that, but the MFLC and DPH available to provide Steel Airmen and their families’ mental health support to ease the integration process.


Need financial help? Not only is a personal financial counselor available to help Steel Airmen better manage their funds, but VPI also can help Steel Airmen apply for loans through the Air Force Aid Society during extreme extenuating circumstances.


Transitioning to the Individual Ready Reserve? The Steel Airmen Support Team has a guide for that to set you up for success and educate you on benefits you may not have been aware of. For example, IRR members can still use the Base Exchange, Commissary, the on-base gym, and several other benefits and services until the end of their IRR term.


What if you just want to do better in your military career? The DPH can help you identify goals and paths to achieve them. Also, an exercise physiologist in the fitness center can help you meet your personal fitness goals and even teach you how to train to improve PT test scores.


The team is not only a service in the toolkit of individual Airmen. Commanders and supervisors at all levels can refer Airmen to the Steel Airmen Support Team or get advice on how to mentor an Airman through a difficult time.


“Leaders can bring problems to the Steel Airmen Support Team, and the team will provide wraparound options, solutions and resources as a team,” said Lefave. “At most bases and installations, leaders would have to go to each entity individually to get answers. Here, we come up with solutions as a team and provide a way forward.”


Whether the sun of their Air Force career is rising or setting, Steel Airmen can count on one thing: no matter what they’re going through, there is someone on staff to help them through it.