AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
Six Airmen assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing stepped forward to share their own experiences of hardship and resiliency during a “Storytellers” event, September 21, 2022, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Airmen spoke about their struggle with life, faith, suicide, the loss of a child, alcoholism, the war in Ukraine and sexual assault.
The “Storytellers” program began in 2012 with the intent to reach out to Airmen, asking them to make their challenges and achievements known to the Air Force at large and to highlight how they overcame them.
“The Storytellers program was originally created to encourage Airmen to share stories, to get their stories out in the open and to watch them change lives,” said Tech. Sgt. Shineta Young, the Equal Opportunity Regional Director assigned to the 380th AEW. “Sharing life’s experience with others is powerful. The Storytellers Program is a tool to share and connect. Here at ADAB, we had a courageous group of Airmen who stepped up to share their story in hopes of reaching other Airmen. The goal is to share trials and tribulations that occurred during their Air Force career and to normalize talking about mental health and resiliency.”
The six storytellers included: Master Sgt. Danny Mingura, the production superintendent assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Jammie Catoe, a project manager assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response victim advocate; Tech. Sgt. Rejeena Whittington, the readiness and unit travel manager assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Squadron; Staff Sgt. Oleg Syurko, the projects and requirements noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron; Staff Sgt. Starshema Brown, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Equipment Accountability Element; and Staff Sgt. William Shelton, a firefighter assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron.