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Wingman Day planned for Dec. 5

By Tony Perez | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Nov. 29, 2007

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — This date is a correction to the article printed in the Nov. 30 issue of the Lackland Talespinner.

On Dec. 5, the Air Force will celebrate its fourth annual Wingman Day, which is a time for Airmen to re-establish the concept of wingmen taking care of each other.

"This is a day set aside to look after our peers, our family, our friends and everyone in the Air Force," said Tech. Sgt. Shawn Owens, 37th Training Wing Safety Office.

This year the focus will be on breaking groups and squadrons down into smaller units than before so that people can become more than just acquaintances.

"The goal is to get people who work together to know each other a little better; that way you are able to see the warning signs when they aren't performing as well as they usually do," said Maj. Duane Bowen, Team Lackland Wingman Day leader.

"The day will focus on strengthening the spiritual, mental and physical aspects of each individual working at Lackland."

Important information concerning resources available to Airmen, such as the Chaplain's Office for counseling, the Airman and Family Readiness Flight, the Health and Wellness Center and the Safety Office will be offered.

However, the way this information is given will be different than in the past.

"There will be no more PowerPointing people to death," said Ground Safety Manager Phillip Brown. "The Safety Office will have five slides with broad ideas, and then commanders can run with those ideas as far as they want."

Besides those modifications, the Wingman Day coordinators are also trying a new approach to the discussion portion of the event.

Each squadron is encouraged to create a mascot, like a scarecrow, named Wingman "Day."

The mascot will serve as a way to discuss any questions or dilemmas that might occur during the day's activities, without pressuring anyone to mention specific, personal problems.

Still, Major Bowen cautions that nothing sends a message home better than personal testimony.

"Facts tell, but stories sell," Major Bowen said. "If a group member has utilized one of our services before, and feels comfortable speaking about their experience, that will help a lot more than hearing a fact sheet.

"I'm encouraging commanders to look through their groups and see if they can find examples within their organizations," the major added.

The day would also not be special without some fun and games. There will be three basewide competitions: the six-legged race, the tug-of-war and a dizzy bat contest. Coordinators are expecting approximately 32 teams.

There will also be many other activities to enjoy throughout the day.

"If we truly believe that people make a difference and are our greatest asset, then we must dedicate at least one day to invest in the welfare of our people," Mr. Brown said.