Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations welcomes its first white rope

  • Published
  • By Jason Minto
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations

Staff Sgt. Andrew Alvarado, a public affairs specialist, has recently become Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations' first white rope.

The 436th Airlift Wing Chapel at Dover Air Force Base started the White Rope program in December 2022 to help strengthen Airmen’s resilience across Dover Air Force Base. The program aims to provide ethical, spiritual, and emotional leaders who can assist wingmen in times of stress. The leaders, or ropes, are trained to handle difficult conversations, equipped with tools to help intervene during a crisis, further extending the reach of chaplains.

Alvarado views the rope as a beacon. “Someone may need guidance or help finding a resource, but most people just need a listening ear. It’s an honor to be in a position where I can provide that kind of support,” said Alvarado.

The White Rope program encourages Airmen to find support in each other while highlighting the importance of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. Finding a balance between the four pillars of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness helps develop resilient, multi-capable Airmen who are ready for the future fight.

“I just love seeing people become the best version of themselves,” said Alvarado. “I believe self-respect precedes impactful leadership. If I can help you find a better balance or improve who you are, then servant-leadership is that much easier to give to those around you.”

Alvarado will team up with AFMAO’s resiliency team to greatly benefit the Airmen at AFMAO.  

“AFMAO is a case study in resilience,” said Alvarado. “You can accomplish the mission and simultaneously ensure you’re in the right frame of mind to continue supporting your brothers and sisters. I look forward to supporting our program however possible. There can be multiple resilience resources, but the one that matters the most is the one you reach out for. This team takes that seriously.”

Alvarado describes his dedication as something that seeps into each of his priorities. This helps him in a support role for the mortuary, but establishes a consistency in his work and the encouragement he provides to the people around him.

“Having a white rope on the AFMAO team is not only a great addition to the team, but also to resiliency as a whole,” said Capt. William Kilgore, AFMAO staff chaplain. “The white rope serves as a reminder for all who see it that providing care and support goes beyond any particular Air Force career. It is a physical representation that all Airmen should be a good wingman, but some go a little further to solidify their support and hone their skills. Staff Sgt. Alvarado’s white rope commitment is the epitome of going above and beyond.”

Overall, the introduction of the White Rope program at Dover Air Force Base is a step towards building a more resilient and supportive community within the Airmen. With leaders like Andrew leading the way, the program is set to make a positive impact on the lives of Airmen and promote a culture of strength and support within the Air Force.