TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Airmen are integral parts of the 325th Fighter Wing’s mission to train and project unrivaled combat airpower. But just like the aircraft and systems they work on, they too need to come in for scheduled maintenance. That maintenance came April 1, in the form of a Comprehensive Airmen Fitness Day.
Comprehensive Airmen Fitness Days, or CAF days, are intended to build a resilient Air Force community. At Tyndall, Airmen and civilian employees gathered for briefings and activities to “recharge their batteries” at planned events.
“Comprehensive Airman Fitness Day is a time to talk about resiliency,” Corey Coleman, 325th community support coordinator. “Mental, physical, social, and spiritual needs must be met in order for us to be resilient. Resiliency is about bouncing back. It is bouncing back from deployments, permanent change of stations, or negative events in Airmen’s home life. Changes in your job and home aren’t easy. But, there are great people on Tyndall whose job it is to help you.”
At the beginning of the day, Team Tyndall broke off into groups to attend briefings and discuss the theme of resilience. In the 325th Fighter Wing conference room, Tech. Sgt. Chavez, 325th FW protocol NCO in charge, lead the discussion.
“During the CAF Day briefing, I led a group forum teaching mindfulness, which is being aware of your surroundings instead of being on autopilot,” Chavez said. Additionally, I spoke about ‘meaning making.’ This is defined as is being able to take something positive out of difficult situations. CAF day is a time to slow down and reflect on the daily grind. It’s a great chance to get needed tools for your hip pocket when something happens either to you, or someone you know.”
Of the quarterly CAF Days, Tyndall usually hosts Sports Day once a year. Some of the events included a 325th FW cookout, a skeeball competition, a dodgeball tournament, bowling, strongest squadron competition, tug-of-war and motorcycle safety briefings.
“The resiliency focus of this CAF day was the physical pillar,” Coleman said. “Although Sports Day obviously addresses physical resiliency, it is also important to note the other benefits and opportunities of the day. For example, co-workers and supervisors were able to take time to really talk to fellow Airman on Friday. It’s a chance for people to learn about each other and connect, which helps to build the social resiliency that we all need.”
Although there was fun to be had, Team Tyndall took home important information to help in their everyday lives.
“The resilience module which was taught on CAF day was ‘Acceptance,’” Coleman said. “Life affords many meaningful moments: the joy of connecting with a partner, experiencing nature, new jobs and building a family. However, life is also full of trying times—moments that make us question much of what we've come to expect out of the world: being passed over for promotion, the loss of a loved one, a negative health diagnosis, or losing one's job.”
Additionally, the acceptance module taught about mindfulness and meaning-making, two strategies for acceptance, Coleman added.
At the conclusion of the event, Airmen and civilians alike, left with a better feeling of comradery and the tools needed to remain resilient.
“Personally, I think we benefit a lot from discussing meaning-making,” Coleman said. “We should understand that life, as a whole, is fairly meaningful. As humans we are pretty good at finding meaning in various ways, even after difficult situations. Some people find it through relationships, religion, hobbies, or helping others. But know that most people do bounce back and find meaning again.”