446th Airlift Wing's Winter Wingman Day 2011

By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Moody on February 15, 2011

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Reservists from the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here, participated in the Winter Wingman Day 2011, sharing experiences and learning new skills to help cope with stress with an emphasis on mental, physical, social and spiritual health. The training on Feb. 12 offered a pause in the day-to-day mission to reinforce the Wingman concept, help build resilient Airmen, and focus on unit health, building a stronger, healthier, and safer Air Force.

The awareness training for the maintainers began with an introduction by Lt. Col. Luther Upton, 446th AMXS commander, who talked about the Wingman concept and the importance of realizing and utilizing support for Airmen.

"I like to think that the 446th AMXS truly buys-in to Wingman concept," said Colonel Upton. "I have seen our folks go to great pains to support their fellow Airmen and I really believe this is a big benefit for our unit members."

Following Colonel Upton's introduction, supervisors led smaller group sessions and facilitated the training by bringing personal experiences and sharing methods for coping with sources of stress like those from downrange missions and the poor economy, said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Cherrix, 446th AMXS section chief. 

One of the maintenance supervisors selected to lead the training was Master Sgt. Frank Jensen, 446th AMXS section chief, who facilitated dialogue in a small discussion group.

"We had really good discussion about confidence, making corrections versus dwelling on mistakes and having awareness of what you have control over," said Sergeant Jensen. "You can't push a brick wall but if you enlist a lot of people to help out you can take the brick wall down piece by piece and then move it." 

Ending the training session, maintenance groups built devices with plastic straws and masking tape creatively designed to protect an egg from a 10-foot drop, much like the Wingman concept and network of care provided to support Airmen dealing with stress in their lives.

"The Wingman Day training is very important and a worthwhile effort because the Air Force shows it cares about the Airman by spending the time to teach life skills like these," said Sergeant Jensen. "Being strong mentally, physically, socially and spiritually will help pad any fall an Airman may have," he said. "There are things that can be assessed and dealt with and there are things out of our control but either way, we're not alone."