Being a Good Wingman

GOODFELLOW AFB, Texas -- We have many catch phrases in the Air Force today. One of the most prominent and important phrases we hear frequently is "Be a good wingman" also known as the "Wingman concept." To me, a good wingman looks out for the best interest of fellow Airman of all ranks. 

When I joined the Air Force in the 1980s, it was drilled into our heads that we had a responsibility to all other members of our service (this can also now apply to our joint environments and sister-service relationships as well). We took this responsibility very seriously. We also took comfort in knowing our teammates had our back when we acted before thinking. We corrected one another by reminding each other of the right thing to do both while on and off duty. We ensured standards were met; everything from customs and courtesies to uniform wear. We ensured if a teammate overdid it at a party, they would be removed and escorted home safely. These are just some of the examples of being a good wingman. 

Here at Goodfellow AFB, it is important for trainees to correct one another when they see things that are, without a doubt, going against standards. Even NCOs will need to look closely and make corrections when customs and courtesies are not being followed. If we are not doing this, then we are not taking care of or looking out for the best interest of our fellow Airmen. If you are an Airman, you represent me and I represent you. I have a right and responsibility to you to correct and to care for you; also, you have a right and a responsibility to correct and care for me. If we are correcting and caring for one another, we are being good wingmen. 

Care for your fellow Airmen as you would want them to care for you. Once we start taking time to help those who are in need, we will find our needs being fulfilled as well. We will also cut back on disciplinary issues when we start policing ourselves. If you don't accept mediocre performance, not meeting standards, breaking the law, and disrespecting others, then Airmen will perform at high levels. They will rise above the standards, follow the law, and respect one another. This is what "Being a good wingman" is all about. When we are good wingmen our reputation as the greatest Air Force in the world will stand undisputed.