WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Across Air Force Materiel Command, Airmen continue to embrace the command’s culture of respect and resiliency. This is especially evident in their behavior as wingmen.
“Accountability is at the core of the culture we emphasize, and it’s at the core of the wingman concept,” said Jennifer Treat, AFMC Community Support Coordinator. “A good wingman stays alert for signs of danger from whatever source — whether suicide, safety mishaps, alcohol abuse, sexual assault, bullying, medical issues or other difficulties; gets involved by knowing their fellow Airmen; and takes action when necessary to protect their wingman, on and off duty. We’re proud to have so many true wingmen in our command who look out for the welfare of their colleagues and community.”
Some recent examples of successful wingman intervention include:
• Wingmen found the driver of a crashed car pulseless and apneic. They provided initial care, CPR and defibrillation until first responders arrived. The driver regained a pulse and was taken to the hospital.
• Another wingman was notified by an Airman’s spouse that the Airman had threatened suicide. The wingman found the Airman engaged in a preparatory act but intervened and immediately escorted the Airman to the mental health clinic. The wingman continued to provide support until the Airman returned to duty.
• One wingman noticed an overturned, burning vehicle and worked to remove the passengers. The wingman flagged down assistance and made contact with emergency responders, staying on the scene until they arrived.
• At a club during spring break, a wingman witnessed several drunken males near a group of underage females. The wingman overheard one male shouting about “hot little minors,” so she asked the females if they were OK and stayed close by to intervene again if necessary. Later, the same wingman helped a drunk, underage female into a cab when the female tried to drive home.
• One wingman responded to an off-duty emergency. The wingman found an Airman’s infant family member not breathing and initiated CPR. The wingman provided stability until first responders arrived.
• After an Airman had an on-duty breakdown and threatened co-workers, a very dedicated supervisor and wingman intervened. The wingman involved the Airman’s peer group, and together they ensured the Airman made it to the hospital. Over the course of the next year, the wingman coordinated a get-well plan and escorted the Airman to various appointments, allowing the Airman to remain productive until he was medically retired.
By staying engaged, showing concern and recognizing signs of distress, these wingmen helped others avert danger and even saved lives.
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 safely intervene 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. AFMC’s goal is to highlight these situations as teachable moments to encourage similar behavior and continue its focus of maintaining a “Culture of Respect and Resiliency.”