New Hampshire Air National Guard Chiefs Unveil IGY6 Tattoo > 157th Air Refueling Wing > News



Sitting in an office whose door is always open, three senior leaders share a new tattoo and a daily reminder of a deeper connection.

Inside Chief Master Sgt. The office of Robert Holt, the aircraft maintenance superintendent with the 157th Maintenance Group, Chief Master Sgt. Bernard Cho, the senior enlisted chief with the 157th MXG and Don Roussel, the psychological health director with the 157th Air Refueling Wing, share similar depictions of the ;IGY6 patch they chose for a tattoo.

;IGY6 stands for ‘I got your six’, or ‘I got your back’. The letters symbolize camaraderie and the semicolon represents the choice to continue living.

The three leaders played a key role in the growth of resilience training and the “I Got Your Six” initiative during the 157th ARW.

“It’s all part of putting people first,” Holt said. “Make connections, foster relationships and show people that you care and are a teammate. that’s what this tattoo means to me. It’s a daily reminder that yes, we have a job to do, but our Airmen are people and they matter.

Each color on the patch has a meaning. Teal is for post-traumatic stress disorder awareness and solidarity with survivors of sexual assault. Black symbolizes the heavy hearts of those who suffer from PTSD and those who have lost loved ones to suicide due to PTSD. The red represents the blood that was shed and the lives that were lost.

“They called me the day before and said they were considering getting the IGY6 patch tattooed,” Cho said. “At first I was like, ‘Are you just gonna drop this on me the day before?’ but I really didn’t need to think about it. It’s really meaningful to me.

“I did six years as a first shirt and experienced every part of this tattoo with my airmen,” he added. “Anything we can do to get people interested in mental health and to normalize it is a step in the right direction.”

Cho said resilience training for Pease started with Tech. sergeant. Joseph Dipalma, crew chief of the 157th Maintenance Group, and took off after Ret. Chief Staff Sgt. Air Force chief master sergeant Kaleth O. Wright has trampled on the importance of mental health.

“The idea for the movement; IGY6 at Pease came from Dipalma,” Cho explained. “He was part of the first resilience team here. He really pushed for this initiative. Now, resiliency trainings are more prevalent throughout the Air Force, and we can see the stigma surrounding mental health is changing for good.

The first Resilience Tactical Break was held at Pease in 2019 and continues to be an annual event.

“We came to the conclusion that the main objective of the RTP is to bring people together, airmen,” Roussel said. “It’s about that connection. It’s the number one saver for people who are having suicidal thoughts or going through a tough time.

“I understood that your six initiatives are about reaching out and making sure no one is left behind,” he added. “Each part represents a part of the larger message. The whole point of this is to break the stigma of mental health so that when people feel stuck, they can seek help.

45,860 veterans commit suicide each year, according to the most recent National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report 2021. The Resilience Team fights to build pillars of self-awareness, mindfulness, self-care, Positive relationships and purpose for all Airmen, so every wingman has the opportunity to continue their story.

“You matter,” Holt said. “I think that gets glossed over in the military because the mindset is usually mission first.”

“This tattoo is a permanent reminder of my commitment to my Airmen and Wingmen,” he said. “We have a mission to accomplish and a job to do, and that’s important; but people come first, mission by extension.



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