Tyndall Airman wins AF mental health NCO of the year

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stefan Alvarez
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affars

Mental health plays a significant role in the modern day service member’s readiness. The 325th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron’s mental health clinic ensures that Tyndall’s warfighters are mentally fit and ready to execute the mission.

Airmen of all ranks and walks of life can see metal health professionals without fear of repercussions or impacts on their professional careers. The clinic is responsible for providing world-class care to patients seeking their help.

One of the clinic’s staff has been selected as the Air Force Mental Health Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for his hard work, dedication to his profession, and selfless service, all while being in charge of clinic operations.

“I oversee our day-to-day operation and make sure our patients are being seen and getting the care they need,” said Tech. Sgt. James Sigler, 325th OMRS mental health flight chief. “On top of offering counseling and face-to-face sessions, we handle referrals for higher levels of care including intensive outpatient and inpatient units and then tracking those patients to make sure they’re getting the treatment they need.”

Sigler enlisted in the Air Force with hopes of immersing himself in the maintenance world, but when he found out he was picked for mental health, he found new meaning in the words “excellence in all we do.”

“When I was young I wanted to be on the operational side with planes and all that fun stuff,” Sigler said. “I had no idea what mental health was or what they did but I wanted to be the best I could at my job. It’s been a constant learning experience and a process of working my way up but I absolutely love it.”

Sigler and his team helped patients overcome personal struggles after Hurricane Michael, despite having to conquer challenges of their own.

“Hurricane Michael destroyed our building and most of our flight left because of the storm,” said Sigler. “My daughter was born 10 days after the storm. A lot of us had to worry about salvaging our homes and providing for our families while trying to see as many patients as we could.”

Sigler saw the silver lining, despite the situation, and capitalized on it to shape the mental health clinic into the organization it is today.

“I was put in a role where I had a blank slate to start with,” Sigler said. “I was able to rewrite and redo things so we could operate the way we should have been operating. I saw room for a lot of improvements for my team and I made sure we could get to where we needed to be to succeed.”

Sigler was humbled by his nomination and selection for the award.

“It feels very rewarding because of all the work that’s been done up until this point,” Sigler said. “It paid off and I couldn’t be more proud of my team. I’m extremely thankful for everyone around me getting me this far because I know there were other people who were also deserving of this award.”

Tyndall’s mental health clinic continues to provide as much support to the 325th Fighter Wing as possible. Their high level of professionalism and patient care does not go unnoticed.