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Five minutes could save a life

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Abbigayle Williams
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

If you were to imagine someone with the personality blend of Oprah and Ellen, you might just think of Aiesha Bass. She immediately gave off the impression of one who is ambitious, resilient, determined – and wants that means.


Aiesha grew up in Texas, never imagining that her life experiences would lead her to where she is today, or the Air Force.


Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with 890th Missile Security Forces Squadron Defender, Airman Aiesha Bass. Before joining the Air Force, she was a juvenile supervision officer. Shortly after starting our conversation, it became apparent one troubled inmate made an impact on her life, her decision to join the Air Force and how she treats the Airmen around her.


She seemed delighted when remembering a then 13-year old boy, full of personality and love for Dragon Ball-Z movies. Then her eyes quickly began to well, thinking about the boys who bullied him and made him feel that his life wasn’t worth living. He always expressed a flamboyant side and for that, the other inmates called him explicit names and beat him up. 


Aiesha noted he was a good kid who smiled a lot and just wanted to have fun, unfortunately, most of the officers only paid attention to the most outwardly troubled kids. Yet, she recognized that often the quiet kids or the well behaved kids could be the most inwardly troubled. Because of that, she said, it is important to interact with everyone because you never know the impact that could be made on someone in a bad place.


She socialized with the boy every day and tried to be there for him as well as she could in her position.


In spite of that, the bullying eventually got the best of the young teenager and he tried to take his own life.


She never wanted to be the one to call someone’s family because they tried to hurt themselves, but because she was the one to find the boy, it was her responsibility.


The pain and sadness swept through the juvenile unit and across Aiesha’s heart.


“Just talk to people for five minutes,” she said. “Answer a five minute call. Just say hello. It can make a difference. It could have helped the boy.”


She also urged people to be good listeners and not rush to judgment or tell them what they are doing wrong. Everyone has a different process to heal and sometimes it starts with having someone listen.


Aiesha knew that she needed a change after dealing with a string of suicide attempts in the corrections facility, and enlisted into the Air Force.


As a new Airman at her first duty station, Aiesha is learning more about looking out for her Wingman and being a good listener.


It may be easy to fly under the radar in security forces because each flight has a large group of Airmen, but Aiesha likes to acknowledge everyone’s presence and be a lending ear for those in need.


Although Aiesha aims to embody Oprah and Ellen, she does not have the open and friendly face down yet, and she is the first one to point that out. Although she is working on presenting an inviting look, her heart is already there. With an infectious spirit, a talkative personality and desire to help others she is ready to make a difference to someone who might need it.


She wants anyone needing a friend or a good ear to seek her out and just talk. It’s her favorite thing to do because she wants everyone to know someone out there cares.


Aiesha may be working to embody the Wingman spirit, but she knows looking after the people you work with is more than a one-person job. You have to be willing to listen to them, she said, and take the time to care about their problems and what they’re going through. Just being there is what many suffering in silence might need to help bring them out of the dark spot they’re in.


If you or anyone you know is dealing with through of self-harm, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741. If it is an emergency, contact local law enforcement by dialing 911.