Why not make it a “Wingman Year”

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur
  • 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
By Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur

GOWEN FIELD - Why not "Wingman Year" instead of just "Wingman Day?" That is 124th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Michael Nolan's, question for all Idaho Air National Guardsmen.

The 124th Fighter Wing (FW) held its annual Wingman and Family Day Sept. 8, and this year's agenda had a twist, centering mainly on morale, team-building, physical fitness, family, and caring for your fellow wingman.

In the past, Wingman Day was a full day dedicated to these topics and Chaplain guidance, financial fitness, resiliency, suicide prevention, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, and safety concerns. These are now woven into drill activity year round.

This year's Wingman Day events reinforced team building with a relay race and built strong morale while emphasizing physical fitness with a uniformed fun run.

Individual fitness scores and unit success in the relay both affect the overall scores for the "Commander's Cup" trophy. The commander's cup will recognize the unit most ready to accomplish our federal mission. The six-month competition ends Sept. 17 when Col. Nolan presents the cup to the winning group.

Each year's winning group will obtain the highest score for their medical readiness, training completion, officer and enlisted evaluation timeliness, their inspection results, and fitness, including the team relay winner.

"I don't think Airmen realized how much fun a team event like this could be until the relay competition portion of the event started. At that point I could see it in their faces as they really started getting into it. I think it reinforces Col. Nolan's vision to carry on his year-round principles of a long-term wingman care program and his (Commander's Cup) trophy concept," said 124th Fighter Wing Executive Officer Lt. Col. Mike Knowles.

Another part of building morale is recognizing hard work, several Airmen were recognized at Wingman Day for their outstanding performance during the recent wing Consolidated Unit Inspection.

"Although this 'Wingman Year' concept really just started, we intend to sustain this vision each year," said Lt. Col. Knowles. "Airmen can expect to see more wingman events like this one in the near future."

"With this vision of Wingman Day not just being a day but spread throughout the year, we are able to continue to grow as a unit and be more resilient wingmen as a culture in our daily routine," he said.

The Director of Psychological Health, Patricia DeBor, shared encouraging guidance for resiliency and advice for Airmen who might need help taking care of themselves physically as a wingman with some of the new policies regarding fitness. She advises Airmen on the process of change and how to use it to adjust your attitude about fitness.

"I see Airmen complaining about the fitness test and the new fitness policies and I want to ask why...take this opportunity to change your attitude," said DeBor.

She listed the process of change, when applying it to adjust the way you look at fitness as an Airman: 1) Pre-contemplate by seeing your goal at the start, 2) Contemplate by seeing what is further beyond that goal, 3) Prepare by starting the action with motion, this might be as little as working out every day for fifteen minutes, 4) Action to continue this goal and make bigger goals, maintain this by taking it into a long-term commitment. If you ever relapse (step 5), get back on track. Treat step five as part of your process--that makes it easier.

"Resiliency is the ability to bounce back. Think of the changes and challenges with the military fitness program as a blessing to help maintain your personal fitness goals or bounce back from lost goals. Make that promise to yourself," DeBor said.