Commentary Search

Wingmen: Never be afraid to do the right thing

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
I am truly proud of our Airmen in the Mighty Ninety! Our Airmen at Air Force Global Strike Command's F. E. Warren Air Force Base demonstrate the true meaning of what it means to be a wingman! I won't go into those situations, but I am grateful to be part of an institutional organization that cares about others!

Every single one of us, regardless of rank, is charged with upholding standards and the welfare of all Airmen. Being a wingman is about getting involved and dealing with tough situations in order to ensure a positive outcome. We don't need people promoted or assigned supervisory responsibilities who don't care about their fellow Airmen. A true wingman has the moral character the Air Force is looking for.

Many Airmen are scared to intervene because of peer pressure from their friends, or they don't know how to handle a difficult situation so they don't. First, I will challenge you to, have the courage to act and do the right thing. Secondly, if your friend is experiencing a difficult situation, go to your first sergeant, chief, commander or chaplain and ask for guidance on how to handle the situation. Most often, I find the wingman wants to help but does not know how to approach the problem and needs advice. He or she is concerned with making the situation worse and therefore decides to ignore it. Not intervening will make the situation worse.

Never be afraid to ask the difficult questions: "What is going on, why are you not acting like yourself?" " Because of this situation are you having thoughts of hurting yourself or others?" If the responses alarm you, don't let them be alone. Let them talk and then help them to ask for help. If the person is at risk to themselves or others you have a responsibility to notify your supervisor or first sergeant. Better to be safe than sorry later.

Being a true wingman involves a personal character not expected in the civilian world. Because of who we are and what we do, that character is critical to the success of our mission. You may not know how to handle every situation, but that is why supervisors, first sergeants, chiefs, commanders, chaplains and referral agencies exist... we will provide you with the answers you need! Never be afraid to do the right thing, remember you will never be standing alone.