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Every Airman is a "Wingman"

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. David Lamb
  • 6th Operations Group First Sergeant
As members of the world's most elite Air and Space Force, each of us has a duty and responsibility for not only defending this great nation, but defending and protecting each other.
Every Airman, from the lowest ranking enlisted to the highest ranking officer, should carry within them a level of pride and enthusiasm demanded by the very serious business of national defense. In today's expeditionary Air Force environment, it would be easy to take the path of least resistance.

 Sometimes it would make life simpler if we could just keep the blinders on when it comes to situations or issues not directly impacting us as individuals. But, by focusing on the total team concept, the idea that we function more effectively as a group rather than separately, if one member of our team is facing a personal issue or challenge, looking the other way rather than reaching out to assist can detrimentally affect the unit's mission. 

There's no doubt about it, being an effective wingman, and embracing the "wingman culture" takes effort and commitment. It's about knowing the people who work with, for and around you. And, it takes being willing to step in and lend a hand when you see one of your fellow Airmen in need of help. 

When you think about the confidence and trust this country has put in its Air Force, a feeling of immense responsibility should take hold of you. How many other professions can you think of that require such tremendous accountability when it comes to our most precious resource, people? Other than the United States Armed Forces, I can't think of any. Each of us needs to be cognizant of this responsibility in every action we take and every word we speak, no matter what our AFSC is, or what level of responsibility our jobs hold. 

There is no denying the fact that today's operations tempo and ever increasing "combat" missions performed by United States Airmen is causing increased levels of stress within the ranks, and with stress comes reactions. Sometimes these reactions may not be the most healthy or appropriate, and this is where the "Wingman" comes into play. 

While the supervisor is considered the first line of defense in recognizing signs of trouble for their people, it's up to each one us to listen and take care of one another. However, it's also an individual responsibility to make responsible decisions for yourself. Commitment to our core values of Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do also means being committed to each other. 

I'm sure everyone of us has been in a situation at some point in our careers, where a fellow Airman or Airmen, were leaning towards a decision that just didn't seem right or responsible. At that point, what did you do to alter the course of events which were about to take place? Did you step in and make that "hard call" and prevent a bad situation from developing? Or did you turn a blind eye to the situation because you would not be directly affected? Hopefully you made the "hard call" and showed yourself to be an effective 

"Wingman". Make no mistake about it, when you knowingly allow a bad decision to be made, you, along with your fellow Airman, are affected. If it's not increased work load due to a co-worker not being there, then it will probably be in terms of a damaged reputation and level of trust within your duty section, squadron, group, wing and even into the local community. 

Being a good "Wingman" just makes sense. The Air Force is a unique fraternity, one of great history and continued excellence, so make sure you are doing your part in continuing that legacy. Be a good "Wingman", have a good "Wingman", AIR POWER!