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Fourth Air Force holds first HRDC workshop

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Zachary L. Anderson
  • 4th Air Force Public Affairs
Air Force reservists from 13 Fourth Air Force wings and groups gathered here November 4-5 for the first-ever 4th Air Force Human Resources Development Council workshop. Over the two-day span, more than 80 representatives from different wings and groups shared insights, ideas, challenges and ultimately discussed how to improve individual, as well as force-wide, HRDC programs. That discussion and sharing of ideas was the goal of workshop organizers.

"This is very valuable, and I'm very happy with the interaction. There are ideas being shared that hadn't previously been discussed. That's exactly what we wanted to capture, is the sharing of ideas--ideas everyone can use," said Col. Abel Barrientes, Vice-Commander, 4th Air Force.

The Air Force Reserve HRDC program was established in 1991 with the goal of providing a focus on the Air Force Reserve's most valuable asset: its Airmen. This is accomplished through programs ranging from mentoring to diversity awareness to community outreach efforts. The workshop provided an opportunity for the different 4th Air Force organizations to learn from each other, as well as receive inspiration from several keynote speakers. The ultimate theme was discovering ways to help Airmen reach their fullest potential, regardless of ethnicity, gender or background.

"HRDC is the thread that ties together everything we do," said Chief Master Sgt. Dwight D. Badgett, Command Chief Master Sgt. for Air Force Reserve Command. "Throughout the Air Force, there are individuals who are just as committed, just as talented and just as patriotic as we are. The Air Force shows that we can come together as a diverse team and be successful."

"We are in a position to facilitate and help and we should do it. We need to develop others to be all they can be," said Maj. Gen. Harold L. Mitchell, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Transportation Command.

During the two-day workshop, each organization gave a presentation outlining the ongoing efforts and successes of their respective HRDC programs as well as current challenges. For those in attendance, the sharing of information proved extremely beneficial.

"I am getting so much energy from seeing what others are doing. It motivates me to go back and do things with our own council. It really allows me to see that we are all facing similar challenges and now we can work together to overcome them," said Maj. Belitza Bossio, 433rd Airlift Wing.

"I've been taking notes furiously! I have so much to take home now to my own unit. It's great to hear about the different challenges and the ways to overcome them," said Lt. Col. DeAnn Lehigh, 507th Air Refueling Wing.

"It opens your eyes to how everyone has put their program together," said Capt. Anna Ruiz, executive officer for the 452nd Mission Support Group. "It's great to network and get ideas from other people. Instead of reinventing the wheel, now we can get ideas from seeing how someone else has already done it."

From the opening of the workshop, Col. Barrientes urged those in attendance to take a critical look at their respective programs and to take advantage of the two days of interaction by learning and sharing as much information as possible. According to the colonel, HRDC should have a finger on the collective pulse of the people in the organization and provide wing leadership with insight needed to make mission decisions. He said HRDC serves as a force multiplier for the most powerful weapon system in the Air Force inventory - Airmen.

"The goal here is the networking and sharing of information. We really effectively met that goal. Questions were asked and there were good answers. People not only got a good cross-flow of information, but they also found programs that can serve as benchmarks for the future," said Master Sgt. Rodney L. Hage, program manager of the Air Force Reserve Command's HRDC.

In the end, Col. Barrientes said he hoped the workshop participants would go back to their units and share the importance of making sure that the 4th Air Force's HRDC programs take every step to ensure the success of each individual Airman.
"Everyone you come into contact with in the Air Force is special. Everyone needs mentoring. If you have that attitude, you will never leave an Airman behind."