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The Psychologically Healthy Workplace 

624th Regional Support Group, U.S. Air Force Reserve
2006 Award Winner: Military Unit Category

The 624th RSG is made up of seven reservist units based in Hawaii and Guam. These seven units provide reroute transportation, civil engineering and medical support to the Air Force. 689 reservist and eighteen full time staff members comprise the 624 RSG. This is a ratio of 1 to 30+ members, which is unheard of in the military community.

The 624 RSG experiences this as both a “blessing and hardship”; with such a miniscule number of full time staff members to the number of reservist, everyone must be fully committed, competent, and taking responsibility for the functioning of the 624th. As a result, each full time staff member and reservists take personal ownership of the well-being and functioning of the 624 RSG. Perhaps that is what sets this workplace apart. Everyone involved with the 624 RSG is dedicated and invested to the point that the “spirit of 'ohana” is prominent! Reservists don’t leave after their eight hour shifts; rather they voluntarily will stay until the project is done. This is noteworthy, as these reservists are also civilians with full-time jobs in their civilian world!

Another clear example of the exceptional psychological health of the 624 RSG is the climate ratings of the 624 RSG compared to the overall Air Force Reservist and Active Duty personnel. The 624 RSG consistently and significantly rated higher than other reservists or active duty troops in unit flexibility, recognition, training and development, participation/involvement, organizational commitment, satisfaction, job enhancement, trusts in senior leadership, and trust in supervisor. Also of incredible note, deployment is voluntary; over 25% of the reservists are currently deployed and the most recent call for deployment, over 60 reservists volunteered to be deployed when only 30 where needed.

As an example of workplace excellence, the 624 RSG benefits from the Air Force’s “mission first, safety always” philosophy and their own “Safety is Paramount” posture. 624 RSG’s Safety Representative stresses and monitors the group making sure all adhere to all safety regulations. Troops are trained in Operational Risk Management (ORM) techniques. As a result, there been only one injury during the past two years, a strained ankle.

The 624 RSG needs to ready to deploy to a combat environment at any moment; Commander Mulligan’s position for this to be accomplished the mental, emotional, and spiritual health needs to be in place. Thereby the 624 RSG advocates for a balance between work and family and reaches out to the family of the troops, making their family apart of the 624 RSG’s family. There are Christmas parties, summer events, a family appreciation event and when a troop is deployed, monthly family visits occur in addition to 624 reservists pitching in to care for the yard work and other household repairs of their fellow deployed troop members. To recognize the importance of family, each Valentine’s Day a letter is sent to the spouse thanking them for their support. During retirement celebrations, the spouse is also given a service award. In acknowledgement of the family responsibilities of the reservist, two months a year they can re-schedule their weekend with no questions asked.

Being apart of the military, career development is clearly articulated; however, the 624 RSG goes beyond by training, mentoring, and recognition. Each member is assigned a sponsor to help with “early education” and they receive a formal feedback session regarding their performance and advancement. Perhaps, what makes the 624 RSG stand apart is the stellar recognition program. 125 awards were submitted in 2004 and over 284 were submitted and awarded in 2005. In the first half of 2006, over 105 awards were submitted and awarded.

RECEIVING MILITARY HONORS FOR ONE’S SERVICE IS CRUCIAL TO PERFORMANCE. 624 RSG recognizes folks through promotion, “coins”, Patriot Warrior certificates, letters of appreciation, and cash and time off awards. Last year for the first time the Sirius Award for Excellence (Sirius, the brightest navigational star in the sky is proudly displayed as part of the constellation Canis Major on the 624 RSG emblem) was awarded to six “brightest” unit members. Each addition to recognition, troops are encouraged to get involved and share their views on how things should be done by the “Step Up and Speak Up” approach to leadership. Monthly the Commander holds an informal lunch with six of troops to give them an opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions regarding 624 RSG.

The 624 RSG are CITIZEN AIRMEN. They are apart of our community and give to their community. Each unit has an identified charity they work with. One unit in Guam collected from their troops over $2,500 to assist in the tsunami relief. A unit in Hawaii contributed over 4,000 volunteer hours refurbishing the USS Missouri and another Hawaii based unit fielded three teams for Walk for Life and raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society. Whereas another collected over $3,500 in cash donations for the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina relief fund. Lastly, unit members give back to the military community as well; volunteering for Operation Hele On, an event for school age children of deployed members.

Hawaii Psychological Association
P.O. Box 833
Honolulu, Hawaii 96808
ph: (808) 521-8995

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