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Squadrons ‘Unite’ from ground up

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Unite program is a new U.S. Air Force resiliency program implemented this fiscal year to support unit cohesion, team-building and morale.

Throughout this initiative, nearly 40 AF bases created a new position, the community cohesion coordinator, to help allocate a total of $4 million in funding for 2019 intended to revitalize the squadron.

“The squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force; our most essential team,” said U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “We succeed or fail in our missions at the squadron-level because that is where we develop, train, and build Airmen.”

Although many squadrons have pre-established team-building events such as Wingman Day, morale days and resiliency days, the Unite program offers a way to increase unit cohesion without pulling from their squadron funds.

“The program focuses mainly on teamwork and wingmanship rather than individual Airmen,” said Michele Jacobs, 19th Force Support Squadron community cohesion coordinator.

Team Little Rock received the installation program funding in March consisting of nearly $100,000 to distribute to all squadrons. The funding allocated $17.50 per person for events and $5 per person for food.

Using FSS services already available on base provides the most cost-effective way to utilize the funding available, Jacobs noted.

“After each event, we will be surveying the Airmen who participated so we can make improvements on the Unite program to make it the best it can be,” Jacobs said.

The goal for fiscal year 2020 is to increase the amount of bases with the new community cohesion coordinator to 80 with an estimated funding of 10 million.

“I think the Unite program is really something we needed in the Air Force, granted we have resiliency days, but most of the time squadrons choose to separate from shops and go separate ways,” U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Angelina McCoy, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron unit training manager said. “Unite is allowing us to come together as a squadron and get to know everyone outside of work.”