Striker Talk brings connectiveness to the 595th AMXS

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron participated in their annual resiliency striker talk Dec. 15, 2023, at Bellevue Christian Center in Bellevue, Neb.

Members joined in various training exercises and briefings that focused on the four pillars of resilience (mental, physical, social and spiritual) that make up the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program.

During the holidays, more emphasis is placed on the mental component of the pillars because many young military members are away from family members, and they miss the connectiveness that comes from being around loved ones.  

According to a 2022 Military Family Lifestyles survey done by the Blue Star Families organization, 45% of the people who took part in the survey said that time apart from their families was the second highest issue military families are dealing with today.

“I want our squadron members to take the day and build on their resilience and learn about resources available to them to improve their overall health, all while building unity and connections with their squadron teammates through small group discussions,” said Lt. Col. Theodore Debonis, 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “This is the one day a year, all shifts from the 595 AMXS are brought together to proactively assist them with mental health and suicide prevention resources.”

One of the briefers for the striker talk was David Payne, 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron E4-B modification manager, and he gave a moving speech about the death of his son, Carter Payne. David wanted to honor Carter’s memory by emphasizing the need for suicide awareness.

“People that die by suicide are not defined by how they passed,” Payne said. “These individuals are people that felt there was no other way to combat the pain they’re feeling in the moment. If sharing my story can affect even one person and encourage a person feeling hopeless to seek mental health treatment, then I was successful. It is healing for me to share my story.”

During striker talk members from the 595th AMXS learned that in the moments of struggle, it is good to have a support system.

“I feel the training will stride for a better chance of connectedness, and coming together to share different perspectives will help make one another stronger,” said Airmen 1st Class Carter Williams, 595th AMXS bomber special integrated communications systems. “It will also help remind everybody that we will also have support. Life doesn’t have to be hard.”

One of Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander’s, lines of effort is to cultivate a warfighter mindset in all Airmen and develop the next generation of collaborative leaders to meet the pacing threat. To meet his requirement, service members must be sound in their mental, physical, social and spiritual health.

Our enduring mission requires a resilient and connected team of maintainers, Debonis said. These striker talk events help build those qualities and ensure their readiness to meet the National level missions.