Incirlik Airmen express their story

  • Published
  • By Airman Cory W. Bush
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Members from Team Incirlik shared stories of struggle and resiliency during a Storytellers event at the Club Complex Nov. 8, here. Four Airmen told their personal experiences in deployments, a journey to rock bottom, the importance of leadership and how important the Air Force family is.

This is the fourth time Storytellers has been held at Incirlik Air Base. Storytellers was initiated here back in 2012 when members of the Incirlik Toastmasters Club responded to Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy's question: "Every Airman has a story. What's yours?" Since then, the event has grown more popular as the years go on as other Air Force installations have adopted their own version of the event.

The stage was set up like a living room with a couple of lamps and an overstuffed arm chair. The lights were dimmed down with a spot light shining on the middle of the stage.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Walker, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal logistics section chief, explained how the atmosphere was something like a coffee shop or comedy club

"The setting was very comfortable," said Walker. "It made me feel like I was just telling my story to a family member or a friend from high school."

An event like this allows Airmen and civilians to come forward and share what type of struggles they have overcome and their personal experiences on being able to adapt and defeat adversity.

"Storytellers gives people a chance to release and lift some weight off their shoulders," said Master Sgt. Francesca Seehausen, 39th Medical Group Dental flight chief. "Sometimes we get so lost in our day-to-day responsibilities. Whether it's our job, school or our families, sometimes we have to stop and take a break to see what other people are going through, then listen and try to understand how they have managed to cope with the stresses of their life or how they're still trying to cope with the stresses within their lives."

The reason why people tell their stories may differ for individuals. For Walker, Storytellers gave him an opportunity to share a glimpse of his experiences as an EOD technician.

"I have been in several situations were my life has been at risk and I have checked a lot of the boxes that are precursors to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Walker. "I don't know of any studies to back up this statement, but I feel like sharing my story keeps me sane. That it keeps me out of the grasp of PTSD and it's important that people hear the story of the EODs that we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan."

At the end of the night, this Storytellers event was moving and motivational, explained Seehausen.

"I really enjoyed the event, I love hearing other peoples' stories," said Walker. "They inspired me, hearing and seeing the way others presented their stories definitely made me a better storyteller."