Military News

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wingman Week focuses on resiliency

by Senior Airman Nicole Leidholm
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/19/2015 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Travis Airmen set aside their daily tasks this week to come together to participate in Wingman Week activities.

According to Wes Yancey, 60th Air Mobility Wing community support coordinator, the base switched from Wingman Day to Wingman Week to offer as many opportunities as possible for Airmen to participate.

"All too often, it is difficult for those Airmen that work midshift at David Grant USAF Medical Center or in maintenance to come out and take advantage of the events offered," Yancey said. "Spreading Wingman Day out over the week allows the units to work it into their schedule with as little impact to the mission as possible. The units can knock out their activities in one day, or in parts spread out over the entire week."

The training was mandatory for all active duty and Department of Defense civilians. It incorporated some of the mandatory Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training requirements, which included the "Feedback to the Force" briefing that stressed how sexual harassment and sexual assault is inconsistent with the Air Force's core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

"Wingman Week is important as it reinforces what good wingman behaviors are: Getting involved and knowing your fellow Airmen, staying alert and watching for signs of danger from whatever source and taking appropriate action to protect your wingman," Yancey said.

Some of the other training conducted included small group discussion on SAPR topics such as "How to Talk to a Survivor."

"The reason that this is such an important topic to be covered is that the SAPR office is not always the first people that a survivor may go to," said 1st Lt. Kendra Baxter, 60th AMW deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "Many seek counsel from friends, family or co-workers."

The goal of the training was to provide Airmen basic tools to help respond to a survivor of sexual assault by listening without judgment and trying to look at situations from another perspective.

Baxter added that it's important in the recovery for a survivor when there is a strong support network early on.

"Our office is always available but if a survivor has a bad experience when they first ask a friend or co-worker about it, they may never feel comfortable reaching out again," she said.

The base also held a Storytellers event at the theater throughout the week of training. The event gave current and previous Airmen the opportunity to tell their stories of struggles and resilience such as overcoming alcoholism and being a rape and cancer survivor. The event helped show that every Airmen has a story.

"At Travis, we heavily utilize Wingman Week to develop relationships and the sense of being connected and belonging," Yancey said. "If we have strong bonds with one another, we are less likely to let our fellow Airmen participate in any negative or self-destructive behavior." 

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