Wingmen, Airmen taking care of Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Susan Riordan-Smith
  • Commander, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron
The 1986 movie "Top Gun" is often credited with bringing the term wingman into popular  use, but the term has been used since the beginning of combat air operations over  Europe.

Today we use the term wingman to signify the importance each one of us, both military  and civilian, have in sustaining the Air Force mission. We honor that commitment by celebrating Wingman Day, a day to strengthen the morale and welfare of the unit. We devote time to building relationships between co-workers, looking at organizational  strengths and sometimes the hard look at weaknesses.

In the high ops tempo world we live in today, where we deploy our members almost on a  daily basis while preparing for a Headquarters Air Force Space Command Unit Compliance Inspection and keeping the components of our installations running, it is important to take a step back and make sure we are taking care of people. Every day we do this, but Wingman Day is the day we can all take time to perfect it.

The term Comprehensive Airman Fitness flows synonymously with Wingman Day and gives us a set of pillars to follow.

The pillars are broken into four areas -- physical, spiritual, mental and social.

The physical pillar is about performing and excelling in physical activities that require  aerobic fitness, endurance, and nutrition.

The spiritual pillar is about strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that  sustain a person beyond family, institutional and societal sources of strength.

The mental pillar is about approaching life's challenges in a positive way by  demonstrating self control, stamina and good character with choices and actions that require you sometimes to seek help or may even require you to offer help to others.

Finally, the social component is about developing and maintaining trusted, valued friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication allowing free flow of ideas, views and experiences.

These four pillars are the heart of Wingman Day and guide us all when we take that step back and build on our already impressive team of Airmen taking care of our military and civilian Airmen!