Day celebrates wingman culture Briefings, race emphasize looking out for one another

Members of the 21st Operations Group and Operations Support Squadron participate during Wingman Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jonathan Simmons)

Members of the 21st Operations Group and Operations Support Squadron participate during Wingman Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jonathan Simmons)

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- Wingmen - they're pretty essential.

Flying a plane? You're going to need a wingman.

Going through a rough time in your life? A wingman will help you out.

Need someone to drive you home from a party? Better get a wingman.

To recognize the importance of being a good wingman, the 21st Space Wing celebrated Wingman Day Oct. 5. Airmen and civilians started the day attending briefings about roles wingmen can play in preventing everything from sexual assault to deadly car accidents. Following the briefings, members of Team Pete participated in the Amazing Wingman Race, where participants ran to various stations and completed teamwork-related challenges.

"It gives people an overall idea that it's important to be conscious of what your friends are doing and what's going on around you," said Senior Airman Tyson Johnson, who volunteered at one of the race's challenge stations. "By just paying attention, you can avoid a lot of problems."

Later, units ate lunch together and spent the afternoon participating in a team building activity of their choice. A few units - the 721st Mission Support Group and 21st Services - spent the afternoon adding a volleyball court and two horseshoe pits to Peakview Park, a space being developed across from the base exchange and commissary on Pete East.

This was the fourth year Peterson has held Wingman Day, an event the Air Force Chief of Staff mandated for all bases in 2004. Col. Liz Anderson, 21st Space Wing individual mobilization augmentee to the commander, and a small committee of Airmen spend about six months each year preparing for the event and recruiting speakers for the briefings.

Though Peterson employees act as wingmen year round, Colonel Anderson said, spending a day celebrating teamwork helps remind Airmen and civilians just how important it is.

"We're always emphasizing teamwork," she said. "Wingman Day just gives us one day to really focus on it."

And, for many people, the day is also a chance to have a lot of fun.

"When they tell you that you have to do this stuff, at first you're kind of like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,'" said Master Sgt. John Baker, who works at the Chapel and was part of the Directorate of Staff race team. "But by the time you get done with it, you're really into it and having a good time. I've really enjoyed myself."