Adopting wingman concept helps us fight, win wars

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mona Ferrell
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Regardless of rank, as a member of the world's greatest air and space force, we are part of a team or "family" that takes great pride in our willingness and ability to watch each other's back.

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.

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.

Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, outlines the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of the enlisted corps. One thing that jumps out when reading this AFI is Airmen within all three tiers are responsible for not only being technically, physically and mentally ready to accomplish the mission themselves, but they should also be mindful of their fellow Airmen's actions. More specifically, everyone has the responsibility of knowing when someone needs assistance, and ensuring that a supervisor and the proper support agency are contacted for the person requiring aid.

There's no getting away from it, stress is a normal part of life, both on and off the job. 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. Be an active, rather than complacent, wingman. It's not just part of a duty description, it's how we fight and win wars.