First USAF members complete Sentinel Program

First USAF members complete Sentinel Program

From left, Staff Sergeant Sierra Rathbun, Technical Sergeant Sheryl Ubando and Master Sergeant Jonathan Miller are the first U.S. Air Force members to complete the Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel Program Course, offered by 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario. PHOTO: Staff Sergeant Patrick Bisigni

The goal of the Sentinel Program, a growing initiative within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), is to use wingmanship and tactical-level supervisors as mental health advocates.

The program is designed to empower junior leaders to be the first line of defence against real and serious threats such as mental stress, work-centred exhaustion, and suicide. Staff Sergeant Sierra Rathbun, Technical Sergeant Sheryl Ubando and Master Sergeant Jonathan Miller are the first US Air Force (USAF) members to have completed the Sentinel Course. They were nominated for the training by their leadership to represent the USAF and build relationships, bringing our two countries closer together.

“I am honoured to have a chance to serve side-by-side with my Canadian military family,” said Master Sergeant Jonathan D. Miller, a Detachment 2, First Air Force, operations superintendent. “This opportunity is truly unique, one that I will cherish for years to come. This training opportunity is a bridge between the USAF Resiliency Program and the CAF Sentinel Program, and is a huge step toward bi-national integration.”

Offered by the 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario, chaplains, “The Sentinel course is a valuable asset for strengthening the spiritual resiliency of our forces,” explained Captain Justin Peter, a wing chaplain.

During training, the volunteers were asked to remember how important it is to ‘just listen’, to ask open-ended questions, and to be an extension of the chapel as ‘eyes in the lines’.

The Sentinel Program was introduced at 22 Wing in 2018 by Lieutenant (Navy) Timothy Parker, also a 22 Wing chaplain. Currently, the wing boasts 66 trained Sentinels who must undergo a full day of training every year to maintain their readiness.