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U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, coins Staff Sgt. Davis Nguyen, 366th Medical Group mental health technician, Oct. 10, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, coins Staff Sgt. Davis Nguyen, 366th Medical Group mental health technician, Oct. 10, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Nguyen received this special recognition due to his outreach efforts to de-stigmatize mental health and encourage early help-seeking. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps)
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ACC command chief recognizes NCO through time-honored tradition

Posted 10/15/2012   Updated 10/15/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/15/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- One mental health technician's hard work recently paid off after being coined by the Command Chief of Air Combat Command - Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons.

Staff Sgt. Davis Nguyen, 366th Medical Group mental health technician, received this special recognition due to his outreach efforts to de-stigmatize mental health and encourage early help-seeking.

Negative reactions toward mental health can be commonplace in the military, and Nguyen decided to proactively reach-out to his brothers and sisters-in-arms.

"Whenever someone hears 'mental health' they usually run 50 feet the other way," explained Nguyen. "So what I've been doing is going out to the squadrons and letting them know I'm just someone else to talk to."

This groundbreaking approach offers an easily accessible and casual resource for any Airman, no matter what their job may be.

"The unique aspect of this is that I will actually go out and do their job with them, just to let them know I'm here," said Nguyen.

For mental health leadership, acknowledgement at the ACC level couldn't be more deserved.

"The real reason he got coined is the enthusiasm he brings to the job," said Capt. Tracy Mayfield, 366th MDG mental health flight commander. "He has dedicated so much of his job to improving our footprint on this base. He didn't just do one or two things; he made it his mission to make sure people know mental health and are willing to ask for help."

As a mental health professional, Nguyen understands the significance of a sound mind in the military.

"It is important that we help everyone maintain a mental balance in their lives, so they are able to do their jobs as effectively as possible," he said.

Nguyen's management also recognizes how his actions affect the big picture.

"What he does is promote resiliency on this base," explained Mayfield. "As military members, we choose to live more stressful lives and what we do in the mental health flight, and what Staff Sergeant Nguyen has been doing is giving people the skills to serve, both in garrison and abroad, with all the resources to do so honorably."

Even after receiving such a prestigious accolade, the sergeant remains humble.

"I couldn't have been able to do this without my flight," said Nguyen. "Without their support I wouldn't have been able to do my job."

The acknowledgment has proven to reinvigorate Nguyen's sense of fulfillment.

"When I was recognized by the chief, it made me happy to know what I'm doing is worth it and actually makes a difference," he exclaimed.

Mental health leadership could not be prouder of their NCO and all he has accomplished.

"He takes his job very seriously; he is the embodiment of the Air Force core values," declared Mayfield. "It takes people with his kind of courage and conviction to help break huge stigmas like what we've got against us in mental health."



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