The CAF Journey

  • Published
  • By Mr. Jean Michel
  • Air Combat Command Community Support Executive Advisor
 In January 2010, ACC developed a Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF) approach to improve well-being, enhance life balance for Airman & families, foster a culture of resilience, and strengthen personal readiness.  While the initial catalyst for CAF was at an alarming rate of self-defeating behaviors (i.e. FY09 Suicide rate 23.7 per 100K / vs Sep 14:  8.8 per 100K), CAF is not a suicide prevention program.  It is much more than that.

CAF capitalizes on existing programs and services, and resilience development based on the UPenn Positive Psychology model and the  Army Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) model.  Following a brief test at Moody AFB, Ga., CAF was implemented ACC- wide in June 2010. A year later, Gen. Norton Schwartz, then the Chief of Staff of the Air Force,  CSAF directed implementation of CAF Air Force-wide in June 2011.  CAF functions under the guidance of the Community Action Information Board (CAIB).  While our resilience development is a cornerstone of CAF, it is important to point out that its initiative focuses on other key areas as well such as  deployment / financial readiness, relationship skills building and access to counseling, suicide prevention, alcohol / drug abuse; spouse / child abuse, preventable accidental deaths, celebrating life and providing hope in the face of adversity and many other aspects of individual and community wellness.

We have come a long ways since these early days.  Comprehensive Airman Fitness is now prescribed by an Air Force Instruction and is equipped with a training facility located at at McGuire AFB, N.J., where we train individuals to become Master Resilience Trainers (MRTs).  When trained, these individuals return to their installations and provide resilience skills to Airmen and family members. Currently we have 140 MRTs in ACC and nearly 2000 Resilience Training Assistants (RTA).   To date over 100,000 individuals have been trained in resilience skills in the command.   All Airmen attending first-term Airmen course receive eight hours of resilience training, training is also provided at unit level by MRTs and RTAs and also to family members.  The Air Force's ultimate goal is to have 1 MRT per 200 members assigned.  In addition in ACC we also have a goal of one RTA per every 50 members assigned. The feedback we receive from MRTs, RTAs and resilience training attendees has been tremendous.  It is making a difference.

Another element of Comprehensive Airman Fitness introduced in 2013, also an ACC initiative, is our Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF) Days.  CAF Days combine both the requirements of Wingman Day and Safety down Day so it does not result in additional down time for the wings.  While mandated requirements are minimal, CAF days must emphasize one of the 4 pillars, at least one of our resilience skills and a safety topic.   Additional areas of emphasis are up to the wings that have maximum flexibility to execute as best fits their particular needs and mission requirements. CAF Days have been extremely well received.

The journey is far from over, with everyone's support and involvement CAF will continue to help us take better care of ourselves and each other and will foster a greater sense of belonging.  It will equip our Airmen and their families with the tools they need to thrive in the military environment.  CAF has the potential to reap incredible rewards for Airmen, their families and the command.  I urge you to contact you installation's Community Support Coordinator and learn more about CAF and resilience development and how you can get involved or learn more about the initiative.  You'll be glad you did and your life will be enriched because of it!!!