SHOW OF STRENGTH: Air Force personnel from RAAF Base Amberley tough it out to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, during a day of team challenges, to show their support to mental health awareness on RU OK? Day.
SHOW OF STRENGTH: Air Force personnel from RAAF Base Amberley tough it out to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, during a day of team challenges, to show their support to mental health awareness on RU OK? Day. Contributed

Amberley's show of strength for mental health awareness week

PERSONNEL from No. 36 Squadron turned their attention to mental health awareness recently for national R U OK? Day.

In the spirit of getting people together, the call went out to RAAF Base Amberley for others to join the quest to move a C-17A Globemaster.

With an upgraded rope due to a previous snap and an overwhelming response, the day grew to include teams from across the base to battle it out to move the mighty C-17A.

A combined team from No.2 Security Forces Squadron and No.1 Combat Communications Squadron moved the aircraft a record distance of 10m in 20 seconds.

An army team from 6. Engineer Support Regiment smashed this time in half for the same distance with their unicorn mascot clearly adding some magical assistance.

However, the fastest team by far was from RAAF Security and Fire School, which took only three seconds to make the distance.

Aircraftwoman Keesha von Stieglitz (left) and Leading Aircraftwoman Sarah Biele, from No.1 Combat Communications Squadron, help their team with the challenge to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, in support of mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed
Aircraftwoman Keesha von Stieglitz (left) and Leading Aircraftwoman Sarah Biele, from No.1 Combat Communications Squadron, help their team with the challenge to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, in support of mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed Contributed

 

A combined team of 36SQN, No.1 Expeditionary Health Squadron and the Heavy Air Lift Systems Program Office also successfully moved the aircraft, a little slower, but with arguably the best style.

CO 36SQN WGCDR Steve Pesce said the day aimed to "simply start the conversation", which helps to destigmatise mental health issues.

The focus of RU Ok? Day has traditionally been on Australia's fly-in fly-out workforce.

Formed to raise awareness of suicide prevention, RU Ok? Day encourages people to have a meaningful conversation with family, friends and colleagues about their circumstances.

"This is a workforce with similar work patterns to our own at 36SQN," WG CDR Pesce said.

"Our people are often faced with limited or no interaction with family and friends for extended periods while away on a task."

He said while there was a close sense of camaraderie in the squadron, there could be a prevalent sense of isolation and loneliness.

Air Force personnel from No.23 Squadron tough it out to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft to show their support to mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed
Air Force personnel from No.23 Squadron tough it out to pull a C-17A Globemaster aircraft to show their support to mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed Contributed

 

"We might go away for a five-day task which extends for an unknown length of time," WG CDR Pesce said.

"It's also our family and friends who deal with this uncertainty.

"Our personal circumstances don't 'clock off' when we 'clock on' at work, and in fact can often be compounded by the nature of the squadron's engagements."

Lucas Martin of HALSPO said coming together for RU Ok? Day was important to him.

"This issue is very important to me as I have recently had a family member go through and is still going through some depression issues," he said.

"Just being part of something today has made me feel better.

"I had a couple of good conversations with people I had never met before and maybe it even helped them talk about the injuries they had or were recovering from."

A thumbs up is given as a banner is placed across the front of an Air Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft to show support to mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed
A thumbs up is given as a banner is placed across the front of an Air Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft to show support to mental health awareness on R U OK? Day at RAAF Base Amberley. Photo: Contributed Contributed


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