Building a Warrior Heart

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jessica Do
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
In an effort to boost wingmanship, help Airmen better communicate and offer resources to handle stress, the MacDill Integrated Resilience Office organized a Warrior Heart and MacDill University event. The event culminated with a presentation by Retired Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, recognized leadership expert, inspirational speaker and CEO of ‘On the Brink Consulting’, on Dec. 4, 2023.

Brinkley led off by answering the questions: What is a Warrior Heart? Is it something we are born with, or something built over time?; and discussing the importance of leadership.

“The heart of the matter, is a matter of the heart,” stated Brinkley. “In my opinion, great leaders are part heart surgeons. You have to meet people where they are located. You have to understand that there are things going on within a person that makes them function a certain way.”

Brinkley continued by explaining that military members, especially enlisted, have one of the most stressful jobs in America and by extension if you lead those enlisted, then the job becomes even more stressful.

According to Brinkley, 50 percent of Americans have experiences a PTSD triggering like event by the age of 14. The number goes up to 85 percent by the time someone reaches 25.

“You may be working with people who seem to be lacking attention, they may seem to be easily agitated or distracted, they could be dealing with trauma,” said Brinkley. “Great leaders must be part heart surgeon. You have people in your organizations who have a full-blown case of life going on, their going through some stuff, and they have on one of the most stressful jobs in America, and they need the best leadership possible.”

In addition to Brinkley’s presentation, U.S. Air Force Col. Adam Bingham, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, addressed the Airmen in attendance and explained what can be gained from attending the MacDill University classes.

“Today and tomorrow will help us remember some of the good things that we need to be doing to overcome some of the storms that our going to happen in our lives,” said Bingham. “The great thing I know about storms is, they never last. If we charge them, we can minimize the amount of pain, time and frustration we feel from them”.

In his 38 years of service Brinkley served 12 years and a First Sergeant and six as a command chief, and foot stomped the Air Force core value Service Before Self. He added, “It is service before self, not service before health.”

Having a warrior heart means pushing through the struggles, recognizing there is a problem, reaching out to get help with those problems, and coming out the other side a better person.