Wingman Day Success Exemplifies “Airmen Helping Airmen”

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Oct. 10, was our annual Wingman Day at the 21st Space Wing, and from the motivation and camaraderie I saw from our Knights, it was a rousing success.

As I mentioned to you at the "Amazing Wingman Race," being a good Wingman is systematic to being a good Airman. To that end, since 2004 the Air Force has set aside a day to emphasize and reiterate our focus on Airmen taking care of Airmen, the fundamental concept of our Wingman Day. In order to continue to develop superior Warrior Airmen to defend America, the events and activities of this year's Wingman Day focused on how "good leadership is good prevention." People are our Air Force's most valuable resource, and we must encourage and promote all Airmen to be great Wingmen. Every one of you is a leader, no matter your rank, position or occupation, and each and every one of you is a highly valued and appreciated member of our remarkable team.

We had officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department brief us on gang activity in the Colorado Springs area. Our thanks to Officers Jessica Kundert and Jackson Andrews from the CSPD Community Impact Team for educating us on this issue, and explaining how we can protect ourselves and our families through constant vigilance and continuous awareness of our environment.

Capt. Kevin Lombardo and Staff Sgt. David Stewart, members of the 21st Security Forces Squadron, gave two first-hand accounts of how the Wingman concept helped them while deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. They explained how it helped them cope with the difficulties and stresses of battle and allowed them to return home with honor.

Mr. Chris Smith from the 21st Space Wing's Safety Office discussed responsible alcohol consumption and how to be safe at home, in the workplace, and on vacation. Remembering to use the acronym A.C.T. (Assess the environment, Consider options to limit risk, and Take appropriate actions) can help you manage and minimize risk and maximize your productivity and success.

Tech. Sgt., Dustin Mohr, 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron, gave an extremely moving and powerful personal testimonial about a sexual assault in his family and the loss of a loved one. His memorial about the death of his cousin certainly touched everyone and brought to light the personal devastation and tragedy that results from such a horrific crime. He showed us how these types of crimes affect not only the victim, but also the victim's family, friends and co-workers and can have far reaching and everlasting impacts.

Senior Airman Donald Wheat, 21st Medical Operations Squadron, gave a lively and entertaining brief about coping with stress and maintaining sound mental health. He explained ways in which we can observe and intervene when one of our co-workers shows signs of overwhelming stress or thoughts of suicide. If you suspect someone near you is considering suicide, you need to ask them directly. This simple act of concern demonstrates that you are being a positive and supportive Wingman.

The "Amazing Wingman Race" gave us a chance to work together in a fun and stress-relieving way. The four activities stations and the run were an exciting and fun-filled way to work as a team to accomplish various tasks. Thanks to Master Sgt. Dustin Ringenberg, 2nd Lt. Jonathan Simmons, 1st Lt. Jesse Johnson, Master Sgt. Scott McKenzie, Ms. Kathleen Nelson and Ms. Jeanine Arnold for overseeing these events.

Additionally, I wish to thank all of those unnamed individuals who volunteered and made this Wingman Day such a success. Without your selflessness and time, this day would not have been successful. Awesome job!

From the exceptional speakers to the exhilarating events of our "Amazing Wingman Race," to the small group mentoring activities, I know that each and every one of you gained some insights into your co-workers and yourself. I hope that each and every one of you will take the lessons learned from our Wingman Day and incorporate them into your everyday life and work, because without you, our mission can not succeed.