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Base celebrates Wingman Day with unit activities

By Staff Sgt Beth Del Vecchio | Wingspread editor | Dec. 1, 2006

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Today is Wingman Day and Team Randolph has a chance to build on the relationships Airmen share. The base will be closing normal operations and participating in unit and group activities.

"We are all wingmen, and we all exert some type of influence, either positive or negative, on those we work for and with," said Capt. John Pilong, 12th FTW Wingman Day representative. "Once we realize the importance of our relation-ships, we can strive to develop those relationships in a positive manner."

Squadron commanders are tailoring Wingman Day schedules and activities to meet the needs of each unit. The focus is on smaller groups of 10 to 20people maximum, with a strong emphasis on group interaction and discussion, Captain Pilong said. The goal is to cut down on PowerPoint briefings and large group speeches.

"Wingman Day is a chance for us to take a break from day to day operations and concentrate on building strong relationships with our co-workers," the captain said. "The emphasis is on strengthening unit cohesion by devoting time to building relationships, examining organizational strengths and vulnerabilities, and planning for the coming year."

Building these relationships will open the lines of communication between Airmen and allow them to recognize when their co-workers face problems or stressors and give them the tools to help each other, the captain said.

General William Looney III, Air Education and Training Command commander, stresses the importance of carrying out the concepts of Wingman Day throughout the year.

"The goal of Wingman Day in AETC is to build unit camaraderie and give every member of our team confidence they have someone at work to whom they can turn for help... not just on a designated Wingman Day, but every day of the year," General Looney said.

The main message to be delivered to Airmen is we are all responsible for ourselves and one another.

"We don't want to isolate ourselves from those we work with, we want to be comfortable enough with our coworkers that we can communicate the problems we are having," Captain Pilong said. "Also, we want to know what base agencies and resources are available for assistance."

Chaplains, life skills and the Health and Wellness Center are resources for Airmen who may need to talk to someone, but Captain Pilong stresses the most important resource is the Airmen and civilian workers at the next desk or down the hall.

"Wingman Day focuses on the four wellness fronts: physical, social, spiritual and emotional. These are the things that 'tie us down' when we are riding out a storm in our lives," Captain Pilong said. "If one of these tiedowns is weak or missing, the strain on the others is that much greater."

Strengthening the four fronts of wellness is important to an Airman's ability to ride out a storm in their life, the captain said.

"Simply put, the Wingman concept is Airmen taking care of Airmen," he said. "Every day and all year long."