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CMSAF stresses Airman resilience

(Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab)

(Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- A soft light from Senior Airman Sarah Mattausch's mobile phone glowed in the darkness of her room before dawn on a Saturday, waking her up much earlier than expected.

As she read the incoming text, Mattausch realized that her friend, her wingman, was in trouble. Mattausch's actions over the next few hours -- rushing to her friend's side, consoling her and getting her help -- saved her friend from harming herself.

One thing Mattausch never expected as a result of those actions was a coin from the Air Force's top enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy, during a visit here this week.

"Human life matters," Roy said. "The actions taken by Airman Mattausch show how Airmen have the capacity to do great things and look out for each other."

Roy's visit to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing included an enlisted call during which he spoke to an audience of more than 500 Airmen and several visits to individual units. While visiting the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron here, Roy discussed changes to the Air Expeditionary Force and how it will affect future deployments.

"Our security forces Airmen have traditionally been among the top of the (Air Force Specialty Codes that) have deployed the most over the past decade," Roy said. "There are individuals who have deployed more than 13 times among the 379th Security Forces Squadron alone. We are hoping to make it a more even process by evolving the way we currently choose those participating."

At each location he visited, the chief emphasized how maintaining professional standards and acting as good wingmen to those around them helps reinforce good resiliency.

"Nobody's exempt from being a good wingman," he added. "We have to understand that being a good wingman doesn't end at the end of your duty shift nor does it only apply to those of lower rank than you. Our Airmen should be good wingmen to all who serve, no-matter the rank or the service. The Air Force is a family and, naturally, you look out for your family."

The chief's visit here marked the first stop on a tour of deployed locations.

"I love talking to the Airmen," Roy said. "Hearing their concerns, achievements and compassion motivates me as their senior enlisted leader."

As far as that day, months ago, when Mattausch aided a friend in need, she never expected recognition.

"I'm honored," Mattaush said. "It's not every day that the chief master sergeant of the Air Force coins you personally and tells you that you are doing a good job."