About six months ago, First Sergeant Langley’s advisors got together to discuss a new project idea. The idea revolved around taking the first sergeant’s room at JBLE-Langley and turning it into a more comfortable place for Airmen in emergency situations to stay. This project is called “diamond hostel”.
It is not uncommon for the base to have a first sergeant’s room, sometimes known as a hospitality room. While rooms may vary in how they are used, one common use is for Airmen in an emergency situation and needing a safe place to stay. JBLE-Langley has four rooms that are used for that purpose.
“Everyone’s mental health is important,” said the Master Sergeant. Jesse Chism, 633d Financial Supervisory Squadron and First Sergeant Wing Staff Agent. “You can’t carry out missions effectively unless your mental health is in good shape. Ensuring our people get the help they need is beneficial to mission readiness.”
According to Senior Master Sergeant. Emily Mandarich, First Sergeant of the 1st Maintenance Squadron, one of her Airmen at the base she previously posted was a victim of sexual assault. Airman’s assailant was his roommate and he had lived with him for six months, suffering in silence, not knowing what to do. He would lock himself in his room, only going to work. He didn’t feel safe.
This aviator decided to file an indefinite report.
“Before (filed a report), he called me to ask if I had an option to give him a place to go so he didn’t have to be at home when the accused was told he was being investigated,” Mandarich said. . “He was worried about telling the culprit, so not having to pack toiletries, food and other accessories was a must. We were able to use one of our first sergeant’s rooms, take him to safety and provide him with everything he needs for a few days until he can return safely to his home to collect his belongings.”
“All of those things have made a difference,” said the Aviator. “This is the first time I’ve been able to sleep in six months.”
Because of this experience, when someone suggested making the first sergeant’s room more comfortable, Mandarich 100 percent agreed with the diamond dormitory project and wondered why no one had thought of doing this sooner.
Months of planning and collaboration brought the updated and decorated diamond boarding house to fruition, helping Aviators feel comfortable and safe during difficult times. On June 1, 2022, the diamond house was announced and ready to receive Airmen in need.
“These rooms provide a safe haven where Airmen can recover and recuperate,” said Chism. “By pulling members out of an emergency situation and providing these rooms, we want them to feel safe and not think about what they are going through right now.”
Prioritizing the safety of Airmen is the primary concern of all first sergeants. Contact information for all relief agents on the base is listed in each diamond house. According to Mandarich, the first sergeant is working to get a safety plan and help them return to their homes or find a safe alternative for the 72 hours the Airmen can stay.
“I think it’s very important for the base and the community because everyone hopes they are not in an emergency situation, but if they are in an emergency situation I think we all want the same treatment,” Mandarich said. “If an Aviator is in a very dark place and a diamond dorm can bring a little brightness into it, I think that’s fantastic. It’s important for people to know that we have a place for someone to stay when they are in an emergency.”
To learn more information or if you require the use of diamond dormitories, please contact your unit’s first sergeant.