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Human relations assessment prompts leadership challenge

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The 162nd Fighter Wing's annual Human Relations Climate Assessment Committee met here during the November drill weekend. The gathering, held annually within 60 days of the closeout of each fiscal year, is actually a working group with the purpose of identifying human resource-related trends, said Lt. Col. Sandy Wilson, equal opportunity officer.

Col. Mick McGuire, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, oversaw the meeting and listened to both inputs and recommendations to ensure a healthy workplace climate. He ended the meeting with a challenge for all committee members to take back to their Airmen.

"Get them to understand why what they do is important," he said. "Every person in this unit needs to understand our mission, how it affects things globally, and how it fits into the DoD mission. Having a clear sense of purpose and value to something greater than oneself can work wonders for morale and readiness."

The HRAC consists of key base personnel and commanders who review annual statistics and trends and develop strategies to address concerns.

Numerous programs are currently in effect to maintain positive human relations within the workplace and to proactively benefit the wing's climate. The 162nd Force Support Squadron, for example, maintains fitness facilities and plans healthful and ethnically diverse meals during unit training assemblies to keep Airmen in top shape and well fed.

A new position in the wing - the director of psychological health - was recently added to the unit to ensure the mental and emotional well-being of Airmen. It's a service that works in tandem with the wing chaplains who provide spiritual guidance for servicemembers of all faiths.

Surveys are conducted throughout the year to gauge the current climate. In all, four climate surveys were conducted throughout the wing in 2011, a larger wing-wide survey and spot surveys within the parachute shop, the medical group, and the 214th Reconnaissance Group. Another wing-wide climate survey is due at the beginning of 2012.

In addition to climate surveys, demographic statistics help determine the current climate of the wing.

"Whenever we look at our success rates, we want to compare ourselves to the Air Force, the rest of the Air National Guard, and the makeup of our community within a 50-mile radius," said Wilson. "We're right on track with the Air Force and Guard for male-female ratios," she said.

While only 10.8 percent of Airmen in the Air Force consider themselves "Hispanic or Latino," 36.2 percent of enlisted and 12.3 percent of officers at the 162nd Fighter Wing consider themselves to be Hispanic - a close reflection the local population.

McGuire concluded the meeting with praise for its purpose. "This is a very efficient means of getting information about what you do as advocacy agents to help manage, run, supervise and build good order and discipline to create fit Airmen - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy - in every way," he said.

HRAC committee members include members from each of the following offices: equal opportunity, Inspector General, security forces, legal, force support, chaplain, human resource advisor, public affairs, retention, and family readiness. Additional attendees included the director of psychological health and special emphasis program managers.