Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

STAR provides solace for space operators

By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs 

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Every day, space operators put on their uniforms and complete tasks critical to the nation’s security. With such pivotal responsibilities, pressure and stress mount quickly, which is why the Space Team for Airman Resilience was formed.

The STAR specializes in mitigating military occupation-related stressors. They are made up of mental health professionals, a religious support team, a physical therapist and a physician’s assistant.

“STAR is designed to help the space operator with any physical, mental or spiritual needs they may have,” said Lt. Col. David Beutler, STAR lead and physician’s assistant. “We are here to fully support the mission and the people.”

STAR prides itself on being involved with the Airmen it sponsors. The team members all have security clearances, which allow them to enter operations floors and interact with Airmen throughout the restricted area. Sometimes, the team also works throughout the night to ensure night shift operators have their needs met as well.

“The STAR [offers] a phenomenal opportunity to care for our space professionals in an operational manner that is focused on being embedded with the units’ members,” said Capt. David Sidnam, STAR chaplain.

Sidnam said STAR was inspired by the Special Operation Command’s Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) model. According to their website, the POTFF was built to implement a holistic approach to address pressure on the force.

“We want to encourage Airmen and empower them to be resilient by caring for themselves,” Sidnam said. “We have space operators who are on crew, have unique schedules and challenging [operations] tempos – it’s important we cater to what they need so they’re able to do their jobs more effectively.”

The STAR team serves units in Deltas 8 and 9 and the 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, so they’re able to host multiple reoccurring events to boost morale among space operators. The most popular being the Wednesday therapy dog visits, when a team of dogs visit Delta 8, 9 and the 3rd SES, offering Airmen a break from work.

“Our goal is to be a part of the family – a part of [the space operators’] units,” Beutler said. “If they think we’re just a part of the clinic or chapel corps, then we’ve failed our mission. We care for you, we are here for you, come and say hi!”

If a member of Delta 8, 9 or the 3rd SES Delta need to contact the STAR, call 719-567-STAR (7827).

STAR provides solace for space operators
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