It was a hot July day when Tech. Sgt. Hoffman collapsed from exhaustion in front of the Chapel. After a month of no sleep and losing 30 pounds, he knew he needed to talk to someone. Chief Master Sgt. Charles Hoffman, newly assigned command chief of Air Force Global Strike Command, recounted a personal struggle during his visit to Minot Air Force Base, July 23-26, 2019. Hoffman, having never been to Minot, wanted to get the full experience the base had to offer while sharing his advice with Airmen and hearing what they had to say. Hoffman visited places such as the 5th Security Forces Squadron at 4:30 a.m. and the 91st Power, Refrigeration and Electrical Laboratory battery shop in an effort to focus on learning about Airmen’s mindset, their training, and just what Team Minot is all about. A big part of every Airmen’s training is the ability to come face to face with obstacles in their daily lives, albeit work or personal, and overcome them. Some however find this a daunting task. “Everyone is carrying a burden,” wrote Hoffman in an email. “That’s not unusual. It’s normal. I also learned that this family will surround you when you need them.”

Receiving orders to Minot is often tied with a stigma: its cold, in the middle of nowhere, and you’ll be here for a while. “Every assignment has been valuable and I learned something I’ve used later,” said Hoffman. “Some of the worst times become some of your fondest memories. How you feel about it is the result of making lemonade out of lemons…and it starts with you.” This stigma has led to Airmen occasionally refusing orders to Minot. However, the implementation of Code 50 at Minot helps grant reprieve. “Code 50 offers that light at the end of the tunnel,” said Chief Master Sgt. Garrett Langston, 91st Missile Wing command chief. Code 50 is a stipulation placed on

an Airman’s assignment limiting

their time on station, usually to

about four years.

“It is an opportunity to learn

the skills necessary to defend our

missile fi elds and then be allowed

to PCS (permanent change of

station) and share that knowledge

in other parts of our Air Force,”

said Hoffman.

The prospect for leaving Minot

was out of reach for some, but

now Code 50 provides that path.

Hoffman, while out at the missile

alert and launch facilities, had the

opportunity to mentor his fellow

Airmen on overcoming their own

obstacles.

“Seek the help you need, I did,”

said Hoffman. “I am a product

of seeking mental health after a

signifi cant life event as a technical

sergeant; those were some dark

days. I came out stronger than ever

but it took a lot of work.”

Hoffman said that after

collapsing on that hot July day, he

picked up an emergency phone

and was talking with a chaplain

within 30 minutes.

“What I remember most is that

the conversation had zero to do

with religion and everything to do

about my situation,” said Hoffman.

“He told me that I had packed 100

pounds of burden in a 20 pound

ruck, and he was there to share the

burden. ‘Take a few things out,’ he

said.”

Hoffman said that he started

exercises with a captain from

mental health to get through his

situation.

“I remember the day I woke up.

I fi nally started eating and sleeping

again! And I could see a better

future,” said Hoffman. “I told my

mental health captain that week…

and we were done.”

Exercising is a valuable tool in

combating stresses and is often

a way to work through burdens

that plague the minds of Airmen.

Hoffman learned that value as well

by taking up yoga and learning the

importance of down time.

“I gained a lot of empathy and

understanding and have tried to

pay it forward ever since,” said

Hoffman.

Trust is built moment by

moment, an Airmen’s focus should

be to return to duty when able,

said Hoffman. From the AFGSC

level to base leaders, they all share

the same mission and focus: for

Airmen to be authentic and care

about each other.

“There is nothing more important

than what you do in your life,”

said Langston. “This mission will

continue on while you take a knee

and get help.”

While visiting the LF, Hoffman

was able to witness an essential

job of the 91st MW Airmen who

provide a vital role in the mission of

global deterrence: assembling and

maintaining an intercontinental

ballistic missile.

“The effi cient work of our 91st

Maintenance Group maintainers

is unique and gives them a sense

of pride,” said Chief Master

Sgt. Brian Arbegast, 91st MXG

superintendent. “In their job of

maintaining 165 facilities, they are

able to start with an empty silo

and assemble a missile ready to

launch, knowing that their work

plays a vital role in the mission of

deterrence.”

This sense of pride and

gratifi cation from their work is one

of the many ways that Airmen fi nd

to combat the stigma associated

with Minot.

Hoffman’s visit showed the Air

Force’s clear movement towards a

goal of more resilient Airmen and

his interest in what Team Minot

Airmen do every day to ensure the

mission of AFGSC is carried out.

“I was impressed with Team

Minot! I look forward to spending

more time with you, listening,

learning and leading come

February,” said Hoffman. “Only the Best Come North!”

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