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New IRON team optimizes for resiliency

Kneeling Airman hands certificate to small child.

Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Chavez, 919th Special Operations Wing yellow ribbon reintegration program representative, stands with three children underneath the propeller of a C-146A Wolfhound at Duke Field, Florida, April 20, 2021. The static display and tour was in recognition of children of military members who submitted drawings to an Airman Family and Readiness Center art contest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

Families walk around a military aircraft.

Families walk around a C-146A Wolfhound and learn more about its mission while at Duke Field, Florida, April 20, 2021. The Airman and Family Readiness Center and other resiliency agencies on base organized the visit as part of their ongoing outreach for the base's Integrated Resiliency Optimization Network team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Helping agencies on Duke Field that were formerly organized  under the Resiliency Support Team umbrella now fall under the Integrated Resiliency Optimization Network. 

Air Force Special Operations Command changed the name of RST to IRON to deconflict the program’s title with the Religious Support Team. The change also optimizes resources within the program by encouraging communication between agencies and enabling coordination within the psychological, social, physical, and spiritual resiliency pillars. 

“The best thing we can do as a resiliency team is to have a united front,” said Jacqueline Gonzales, Airman Family and Readiness Center director and head of the Duke Field IRON team. “IRON allows us to get together, cross market and advocate for each other's programs.”

IRON includes helping agencies on Duke Field such as Military Family and Life Counselors, Preservation of the Force and Family, the Chaplain’s office, and the Airman Family and Readiness Center among others. The program enables communication between civilian employees, contractors, and military members working for the separate agencies.

“Bringing the resiliency agencies together has been a great investment for each other and a great investment for our Airmen and their families,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Eric Randall, 919th Special Operations Wing chaplain. “It’s been a tremendous opportunity for our agencies to interconnect ourselves.”

The IRON team meets monthly to gain awareness of events, capabilities and resources each agency is providing. This allows them to advocate for each other's programs when Airmen seek support while also ensuring their programs aren’t conflicting with each other’s efforts. 

“There are a lot of different statuses within our helping agencies, IRON melds them together,” said Gonzales. “It’s all about consolidating support efforts and making sure we provide the best resources to Airmen and their families.”

As part of the IRON program, each resiliency pillar has its own advocacy representative.  These advocates move between organizations and coordinate within helping agencies assigned to each pillar to ensure Airmen and their dependents have access to as many resources as possible. They also coordinate events and facilitate working groups between the agencies of the pillar they represent.

“Iron is a metal that’s strong, stable and durable,” said Randall. “As a team, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do for our Airmen. Taking care of Airmen in a way that is more effective and visible is very gratifying.”

To learn more about the resiliency resources available within the 919th Special Operations Wing, be sure to follow the Wing on Facebook and Instagram or download the 919th SOW app.