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105th Airlift Wing Implements Air Force Program Designed to Better Guardsmen's Quality of Life

STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NEWBURGH N.Y. -- Transitioning from C-5A Galaxy to C-17 Globemaster III operations is no mean feat and easing the discomfort of change in the way a unit conducted business for over 26 years is a top priority for the new Wing Commander of New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing.

Colonel Timothy J. LaBarge, who assumed command of the unit on April 15, 2012, is implementing an Active Air Force Program that's been effective in improving the life and military readiness of Airmen and their families.

The first meeting of the 105AW Community Action Information Board held on May 30, 2012. The board, chaired by LaBarge brings together key leaders from the wing's groups and squadrons as well representatives from the chaplaincy, medical, mental health professionals, family readiness, and public affairs to evaluate programs in place and implement new ones.

The Community Action Information Board, or CAIB, is a proactive approach promoting the perception of the Air National Guard as a positive way of life, and enhance guardsmen's ability to function as productive members of the Air Force community.

The Air Force began implementing the program in 2006. This is the first CAIB in the 6,000-member New York Air National Guard and one of the first in the Air National Guard as a whole.

LaBarge intends to use the CAIB as a mechanism for developing an installation health and wellness center similar to those in place at other New York Air National Guard bases.

The CAIBs already in existence played a key role in the creation of the Air Force Comprehensive Airman Fitness program, designed to improve the well-being of Airmen.

"The stresses on our Airmen and Women in today's Air National Guard are probably higher than they have been in the history of our service. From a decade's long conflict overseas driving an extraordinarily high ops tempo, economic concerns, stringent physical fitness standards, and concerns driven by the conversion initiative here at the 105th, our people have a full plate of stressors" LaBarge said.
 
"We owe it to ourselves and those who work for us, to give them all the tools that we can assemble to deal with these issues. We are confident that the CAIB will allow us to focus our efforts on those necessary resources" LaBarge added.

Some roles of the 105th Community Action Information Board will be to: Use a variety of approaches such as focus groups, surveys, and interviews to identify individual, family, installation, and community concerns. Then implement solutions to problems and generate ideas that, put into action will promote wellness, fitness and increase morale.
Board Member Col. Lori Scheuermann, 105th mission support group commander, believes the unit, presently is doing an excellent job of addressing the four pillars with a variety of programs and initiatives, but also thinks more can be accomplished. "With the help of the members of our organization, many of which always have great ideas, we will come up with innovative and efficient means to identify and address issues and concerns. This is about taking care of one another and it's what we strive to accomplish." Scheuermann said.

According to April Hannah, 105AW director of psychological health, the CAIB will help to bring together all of the wonderful programs that are currently being offered to our servicemen and women and their families but in a more structured forum. "Placing the Director of Psychological Health, Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager, Chaplains and Physical Health Director under one roof in a Health and Wellness Center will provide a one stop shop for our Airmen to come in for any issues they may need assistance with and be provided with immediate resources." Hannah added.

The 105th CAIB will meet quarterly to address individual, family, and community concerns. The emphasis will be on positive actions and programs that strengthen force readiness through a sense of community and assist Air National Guard members, civilians, and their families to thrive and successfully manage the demands of military life.