Resilient Warriors: Adaptability at the Wolf Pack

  • Published
  • By Mr. Sonny Park
  • Airmen and Family Readiness Center manager
  Gen. Paul V. Hester announced 2007 as the year of the 'Resilient Warrior' for Pacific Air Forces. As the Air Force reduces its numbers through Presidential Budget Decision, or 'PBD-720,' increased operations tempo and additional, numerous deployments, Airmen throughout the command are being stressed more than they have ever been. 

  And the month of March is no different. During the month, leaders want to stress the 'adaptability' of Airmen and family during this critical year. But what is adaptability and what does it mean to Wolf Pack members? 

  It means being flexible to meet mission objectives, tolerating hardships and the absence of comforts, striving to meet reasonable customer needs and being effective with or without an external structure. 

  At the Wolf Pack, it also means one must learn to adapt to a foreign environment and be separated from their loved ones. Adaptability is an important part of life in general, and has many benefits. 

  Americans have a strong sense of patriotism. We believe in egocentrism and carry with us the philosophy of being supreme in everything we do because our parents and teachers have instilled in us we are number one in the world. We are also accustomed to having plentiful resources throughout most of our history. 

  But nowadays, we face new challenges of multiple stressors, including downsizing, high ops tempo and frequent deployments. Ironically, the world has transformed dramatically from the American ideal of a melting pot into multicultural globalization. There are American-made Toyotas on the streets of America, Japanese-made Kodak products in Japan and even Korean-made McDonald hamburgers in Korea. We now have to adjust or perhaps improvise to local and regional demands to get the results we want. We have to adapt and spring back to be competitive. 

  The Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mosley is encouraging all Air Force members to learn foreign languages. It's obvious that we cannot win the war on terror with high-tech alone. 

  We need more than just JDAMs and laser-guided weapons. Our precise human intelligence on the enemy--understanding their motives, culture, thinking and his unique approach--coupled with our mission adaptability can win this war.
We remember the Afghan campaign only a few years ago in which our Air Force and Army special operations forces employed the local dialect to team up with the Northern Alliance. 

  The unified force rode into battle on horseback, yes, on horseback, and found targets and radioed enemy positions to awaiting Air Force bombers who dropped precision-guided bombs to take out Taliban and al-Qaeda elements. 

  During the Korean War, the Army's 24th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Dean, was separated from his men. He successfully evaded enemy forces for several weeks on a small bowl of rice a day, even though he had always hated eating rice his entire life. General Dean exercised his adaptability to survive. 

  To assist with Wolf Pack's unique adaptability challenges, the Airman and Family Readiness Center offers several programs this month. The AFRC offers an Introduction to Korea class, Korean Movie Nights and a Distance Parenting class. 

  The Korean class lecture is a 101 in Korean geopolitics, economy, culture, history, military situations and current issues. Come to this class to learn and understand more about Korea, its people and culture. 

  Korean Movie Nights are offered every Wednesday night this month at the Sonlight Inn, except during an exercise week. You can come out and watch award-winning Korean movies with English subtitles, and enjoy free popcorn and soda. 

  The Distance Parenting Class offers helpful hints and recommends various ways to nurture the parent-child relationship at a distance. Children need as much emotional support as they can get during a parent's deployment. Wolf Pack members are also reminded to utilize the Military OneSource by dialing 1-800-342-9647 for additional consultations on money matters, marital and family counseling, child care and many other issues. This is a virtual extension of installation services at no cost to Wolf Pack members. Your loved ones in the continental U.S. are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable service to cope with and adapt to your remote assignment at Kunsan.
In addition to these adaptability initiatives, the AFRC offers our regular Korean language and cooking classes throughout March. 

  The base education center also offers University of Maryland-sponsored Korean language classes to Wolf Pack members. Officers with undergraduate degrees can take up to two Korean language classes and be reimbursed by the Air Force. 

  Adaptability isn't always easy, but with the right mindset its possible and you might even enjoy yourself while learning something new in the process. An old adage, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," can be matched with another old adage, "Where there is a will, there is a way."