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446th AW preps for Wingman Day

Team building focus of activities

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(446th AW PA) - "You can be my wingman anytime."

Most moviegoers know this cliché line uttered by Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise at the end of the 1986 film Top Gun by heart. But these classic words sum the Air Force's Wingman Day concept.

Wingman Day is mandatory for all Airmen every year. Air Force Reserve Command units will host their 2012 Wingman Day activities by mid-March.

"We must take care of each other," said Col Bruce Bowers, 446th Airlift Wing commander. "Our units are our family. Family members take care of each other. I constantly see this sense of family anytime there is a crisis. The recent power outage and snow event is evident of this desire to help our fellow Airmen."

What used to take more of a safety emphasis, the Wingman concept has evolved into a focus on life balance.

"The suicide rate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Army as a whole, has been going through the roof," said Lt. Col. Kevin Welin, 446th AW chief of safety. "That has become the new buzz term, ‘wingman.' What can you do? What can I do for the Reservists in our office? Can you see different personality changes? AFRC wants to make sure every (Reservist) refreshes their brains. "

These needs Welin mentioned are the four pillars of comprehensive fitness, which the new Wingman concept is based on.

"If you don't have the four solid pillars, you are not ready for a deployment," said Welin, who's been in the military for nearly 30 years. "If we don't have personnel ready for a deployment within 72 hours, we're not ready. You have to make sure those four pillars are always balanced to the best of your ability."

Wingman Day briefly halts normal UTA activities to revisit unit morale and wellness, said Welin. Small group discussions will provide strategies related to the four pillars, mission effectiveness and unit solidity. Basically, it's about team building, looking out for each other and maintaining the individual's physical and mental health.

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