Herk Nation strives for a Warrior Heart

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Little Rock hosted a two-day training event aimed at integrating the Warrior Heart culture into Herk Nation at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 13-14, 2024.

Air Mobility Command’s Warrior Heart initiative encourages responsible and early help-seeking behaviors to help Airmen balance mental health with physical fitness while honing their craft. During the Spring Phoenix Rally in 2023, U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, highlighted his Warrior Heart mantra which included eliminating stigma, lowering barriers, and increasing access and options.

“Warrior Heart is not a program, but rather, about our climate and our culture,” said Minihan. “So when I say mind, body, craft, I mean elevating the mind to the same level as body and craft.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, life coach, and retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jannell MacAulay, leadership and human performance consultant, led the event and encouraged participants to unlock their inner warrior, learn to train their minds, and command thoughts under stress.

Emphasizing the significance of the Warrior Heart culture, MacAulay underscored the importance of managing chronic stress, which can often plague military members, leading to deteriorations in focus, relationships, and career longevity. Guiding leaders and teams through a transformative journey of self-reflection, she imparted actionable skills to master internal environments, command mindsets, and elevate performance.

During the leadership-focused sessions, MacAulay urged leaders and teams to appreciate the joy within daily moments. Drawing from her own experiences, she offered techniques to foster sustainable high performance amidst competitive stress, facilitating a culture of focus, productivity, and happiness.

MacAulay also had the opportunity to sit down with first sergeants during a lunch event to tackle the struggle they may face finding time for self-care. The session aimed to equip first sergeants with the necessary tools to navigate their roles successfully and balance professional demands with personal stressors.

Additionally, MacAulay spoke to frontline supervisors and delved into high-performance mindset programming, mindfulness, recovery, confidence-building, and trust. She not only focused on individual performance enhancement but also driving cultural change through performance mindsets.

On the second day of the event, Brinkley led three training sessions that explored fundamental aspects of personal and team development. He began by delving into the importance of acknowledging one’s purpose to determine the trajectory of life and how to prioritize time and energy.

“The minute you realize your worth, you shift your energy to attract people who respect your worth,” said Brinkley. “It starts with you first; you have to do the work.”

He added that the military is one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. and encouraged the audience to think about the standards that were set for them when they joined the Air Force and whether they uphold standards in their personal lives.

“What I challenge you to do is reflect on your experiences,” said Brinkley. “Many of you in this room have done great things in life but you’ve never established non-negotiables in your life. When it gets hard you just continue working hard until you lose something that you didn’t know you were negotiating for.”

Brinkley’s other sessions examined strategies for identifying blind spots, enhancing communication, and fostering healthy competition. Lastly, he equipped participants with tools to understand and navigate trauma, ensuring effective team management during emergent times.