Being a good Wingman

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Patrick Youngson
  • Commander, 45th Operations Support Squadron
In last week's Missileer, there were two very sad articles about losses to the Air Force family. One was on an AFTAC Master Sgt. whose wife passed away following child birth, while the other was on a suicide at Schriever AFB.

These articles addressed completely unrelated events; however, each had a consistent message of being a Wingman.

What does that mean to you?

The AF established the Wingman program to encourage Airmen to look out for one another. In both of these circumstances, members of our AF family were thrust into an unexpected situation and are now grieving the loss of life. It is important to understand that being a good Wingman means you should take an active role not only in suicide prevention, but also times of stress.

It is rewarding to hear that the AFTAC and Patrick AFB communities came together to help a newly widowed Master Sgt. and his family deal with such a terrible tragedy. Chief Master Sgt. Lagasse's motto of "others first" and the outpouring of support is truly a sign of some strong Wingmen.

Remember, airmen at all levels have a role as a Wingman. We should constantly look for signs that someone might need help but also know where to send them to get it. In my short time in command, we've unfortunately experienced quite a few Wingman type situations and each time I knew I could call the First Sergeant for assistance.

If you don't know your Shirt, get to know him or her. These amazing professionals are there to help and fully trained to assist you. In addition to the Shirt, we have a variety of fantastic AF resources such as the Chaplain's office, Airman & Family Readiness, Mental Health Clinic, Family Advocacy, Health & Wellness Center, and Military One Source, just to name a few.

They are all ready to support you both as an AF family member and as a Wingman.

Are you doing everything you can to be a good Wingman?

If not, step it up, lead by example, take care of those around you and of course take care of yourself.