Military News

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

AFMC wingmen continue to take action

by Kim Bowden
Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs


10/13/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  -- Air Force Materiel Command's culture of respect and resiliency is still going strong, and Airmen across the command continue to prove their dedication to that culture through their actions as wingmen.

"In AFMC, and across the Air Force, we accomplish our mission as a dedicated team committed to our core values and to each other," said Jennifer Treat, AFMC Community Support Coordinator. "Every Air Force officer, enlisted member and civilian is an Airman. The term wingman stems from a time-honored tradition within our Air Force flying community that essentially says a wingman will always stay with and protect the lead pilot, watching his or her back. It is a promise, a pledge, a commitment between Airmen. We're proud to have so many true wingmen in our command who look out for the welfare of their colleagues and community."

In one example of successful wingman intervention, an employee displayed increasing distress over a period of three days and mentioned to a co-worker that she was considering suicide. The co-worker called the Employee Assistance Program and escorted the employee to meet a counselor. The concerned behavior of the wingman prevented a potentially tragic outcome.

In another situation, a deputy flight commander received a call from one of his Airmen who was on leave and also enrolled in the ADAPT program. The Airman was clearly under the influence, so the wingman drove to the Airman's house and found him in a vehicle with nine empty beer cans. The wingman took the Airman to the emergency room, mental health and ADAPT, where the Airman received in-patient care for addiction. By creating a rapport with his Airmen that made them comfortable in reaching out for help, the deputy flight commander was able to stay engaged, prevent the Airman from driving under the influence and limit the severity of the Airman's relapse.

In a third example, a male active duty dependent texted his friend, another dependent, with threats of suicide. The friend immediately notified her active duty sponsor, who notified security forces. When they were unable to reach the male dependent, security forces traced the signals from his cell phone and contacted police in his location -- 60 miles away. Local emergency services got in touch with the male dependent and his parent and took the dependent to get help. Thanks to the vigilance and resourcefulness of the friend and security forces, the male dependent received the care he needed.

In yet another circumstance, while TDY two wingmen provided physical and emotional support to a classmate who had a serious allergic reaction to food. The wingmen first tried to assist with over the counter medication but as the reaction worsened they called 911 for directions to the emergency room, taking the classmate immediately. The doctor explained that without the medication the wingmen initially provided, the victim would have died within minutes. The attentive and determined attitudes of the wingmen ensured medical treatment to avert the life-threatening event.

AFMC has been consciously building the concept of wingman intervention since 2013. The goals are to raise awareness of helping behaviors, increase the motivation to help, develop the skills and confidence to intervene safely and assist when necessary, and ensure the safety and well-being of self and others.

If you become aware of situations in which personnel have recognized at-risk behaviors and proactively intervened, please contact your local Community Support Coordinator.

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