PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA --
“…I will faithfully uphold the Team Phoenix code of ethics, promote mutual respect, and help others in times of need. I promise to improve the culture around me and encourage my peers to do likewise. I take this obligation freely and I volunteer without reservation.”
These words were repeated by 42 voices in the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing conference room as new members were inducted into Team Phoenix during a ceremony at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 8, 2021.
The full team now includes 56 members who help connect the rest of base personnel with key helping agencies, to include the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, Equal Opportunity, the Chapel, and Mental Health.
“Team Phoenix members are essential to the success of the helping agencies because they have the ability to gather the pulse of how members are doing, peer-to-peer,” said 1st Lt. Darby Germain, 378th AEW sexual assault response coordinator and a Team Phoenix helping agency lead.
The program started in January 2021 at the initiative of Airmen who saw an opportunity to provide a connection between the base populous and the helping agencies. The team now has representatives from 12 separate organizations across the base, to include joint partner units.
After the induction ceremony, Team Phoenix members received in-depth training on each helping agency and the services they provide, enabling them to act as subject-matter-experts in their units, educating members proactively and acting as sources of information when questions arise.
“Often members are nervous or unsure about coming to a helping agency on their own so Team Phoenix members serve as that helping hand to get them there and provide them with information relating to what they need,” Germain said. “For example, if someone was feeling very down and unsure how to cope, a Team Phoenix member could explain the services Mental Health or the Chapel offers and encourage the member to go to one of those agencies.”
The education piece plays a crucial role for smaller agencies like Equal Opportunity, where Team Phoenix members can act as force multipliers for the one-member office, projecting a culture of dignity and respect across the base.
“Equal opportunity is everyone’s responsibility, and Team Phoenix is empowered to promote a healthy human relations climate,” said Master Sgt. Megan Smith, 378th AEW Equal Opportunity director.
“They can stand up in situations where something is being said or done in the workplace that does not promote our core values.”
While they do not have legal confidentiality capabilities, Team Phoenix members are charged with protecting people’s privacy if they just need to talk to someone when going through a hard time.
“They are often able to just listen and be there for their fellow service members,” Germain said.
Smith shared the same sentiment.
“They also understand different services provided by the helping agencies to support their teammates if they need help during times of conflict,” said Smith.
Team Phoenix members can be identified by blue and yellow tabs worn on their shoulders while in uniform.
“It brings me comfort knowing that there are easily recognizable Team Phoenix members spread across PSAB, ready to help at any second,” Germain said.