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New resilience team to imbed with space warfighters

The STAR acronym represents Space Team for Airmen Resilience. According to Maj. David Beutler, 21st Medical Squadron STAR operational support flight commander, STAR is a pilot program within Air Force Space Command based on the operational support team concept, where a team is imbedded inside a line unit to observe the medical and mental health needs of the unit. For the debut of the program, STAR team members will imbed with the 50th Operations Group, the program’s success rate will determine if the STAR team will rotate through other units. The program is scheduled to launch Oct. 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force graphic by 2nd Lt. Idalí Beltré Acevedo)

The STAR acronym represents Space Team for Airmen Resilience. According to Maj. David Beutler, 21st Medical Squadron STAR operational support flight commander, STAR is a pilot program within Air Force Space Command based on the operational support team concept, where a team is imbedded inside a line unit to observe the medical and mental health needs of the unit. For the debut of the program, STAR team members will imbed with the 50th Operations Group, the program’s success rate will determine if the STAR team will rotate through other units. The program is scheduled to launch Oct. 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force graphic by 2nd Lt. Idalí Beltré Acevedo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Space Team for Airmen Resilience program will commence operations at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 1.

Maj. David Beutler, 21st Medical Squadron STAR operational support flight commander, explains what comprises a STAR team and its purpose.

“STAR is based on the operational support team, which is a relatively new Air Force wide concept to have a medical team imbed inside a line unit to observe the medical and mental health needs of the unit,” he said. “The main OST organization is the 711th at Wright-Patterson, Air Force Base, [Ohio].”

According to the Air Force Surgeon General public affairs office, “the Air Force Medical Service is supporting that effort by rolling out a new health care model at the squadron level, called operational support teams. These teams rotate through squadrons at a base, seeking to improve individual health and squadron performance. By focusing on each squadron’s unique job, needs and environment, the OST can address the root causes of illness and injuries, and ensure readiness.”

Beutler said STAR will make its debut within Schriever’s 50th Operations Group. The success of the program will determine further reach.

“It is a pilot program within Air Force Space Command, so it is pretty fluid right now as we are setting up. We will be imbedded with the 50th Operations Group only,” he said. “We will make recommendations to leadership and if [the program] is deemed successful, will likely rotate through other units needing STAR assistance.”

Beutler said the aim is for STAR to go live by Oct. 1, as the hiring process is still ongoing.

“I am the physician assistant and the STAR team lead. We currently have a medical technician (Staff Sgt. Anissa Testaverde, 21st Medical Squadron Technician, Air National Guard), a chaplain (Capt. Jordan Huggins, 50th Space Wing chaplain, Air Force Reserve), and a chaplain assistant (Master Sgt. Randy Flanery, 302nd Airlift Wing chaplain assistant, Air Force Reserve),” he said. “We are currently in the hiring stage for a psychologist and a social worker, both civilian general schedule positions.”

Beutler explained STAR is a voluntary assignment for its members.

“My position was selected (as the flight medicine physician assistant), however, I am fully involved and excited for this pilot,” he said. “The team positions were selected to best help with the mental and physical needs of the unit.”

Beutler said the debut headquarters of STAR will be in the restricted area.

“We will be located within the RA, located near the bio environmental engineering offices and Bennie’s Breakroom,” he said. “A new location will be established pending approval and [we] will likely move there mid-October.”

Flanery, explained why he decided to volunteer for STAR.

“I decided to participate in the STAR program for two reasons; to have the opportunity to create a more resilient atmosphere by simply utilizing my chaplain assistant core capabilities, one being the engagement of my fellow Airman,” he said. “Secondly, to share my resiliency experiences and tools with anyone who’s willing to listen and take some positive steps on their side to make positive changes within the 50th Space Wing.”

Flanery elaborated on the chaplain’s office involvement and goals within the program and how he believes it will help increase the office’s engagement with Airmen and in turn, Airmen resilience, one of the key words in the STAR acronym.

“It has to do with connection and 100 percent confidentiality. The chaplain corps has a goal of being out and about, engaging our fellow Airmen, a minimum of 40 percent each day,” he said. “Keeping up with this pace, meeting this goal of trust-building and personal engagement with Airmen will create resiliency [because] these specific individuals now have a confidant they can speak to.”

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