EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Resiliency is a hot topic in the Air Force. It’s stressed constantly and with good reason; Airmen who are more resilient are better able to maintain focus on their jobs and accomplish the mission.
Airman 1st Class Ian Patten, a 354th Operations Squadron airfield system technician, joined the Air Force in 2016. He finds motivation for his work through his passion for knowledge in both cultural and military history.
For instance, Patten’s view on Odin, the Norse god who seeks knowledge and wisdom, influences his choices and helps keep him motivated.
“I think Odin’s sacrifice to himself, to gain the knowledge of the runes and the idea of sacrificing yourself, for yourself, is something I find motivating,” said Patten, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. “Gaining knowledge I didn’t have before is something that motivates me.”
Through his quest to learn more, Patten has found another individual who resonates with him; James Stockdale a retired Navy Vice Admiral and former prisoner of war, who follows of stoic philosophy. Stockdale’s beliefs in stoicism inspires Patten to persevere with his work even when times get tough.
“The weather can be a big challenge, like getting up on a day when it’s 50 below out,” said Patten. “Getting past the mental barriers can be difficult. James Stockdale showed me I can continue even in the worst circumstances; it is not the circumstances that dictate virtue, but rather one's will or choices.”
By learning more about history, Patten finds influences in past leaders which help him overcome adversity and allows him to work to the best of his ability.
“I do not focus on overcoming inflexible barriers, but rather I focus on things malleable to my will,” Patten said. “I like to prioritize improving myself because I am the one person I can change.”
Patten’s goal to change himself for the better, rather than faltering before his obstacles, speaks a great deal about the resiliency he’s gained from historical figures and allows him the ability to continue his mission, even through the toughest situations.