Being a good wingman important for military, civilians

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs
Everyone needs someone to lean on every now and then.

Since needs don't always arise during work hours, embodying the Wingman Concept is a 24-hour job for both military and civilian Airmen.

Capt. Nicole Campbell, Psychology provider and Installation Suicide Prevention Program manager in the 78th Medical Group's Mental Health Clinic, said the Wingman Concept originated in the Air Force's flying community.

"It's a promise, a pledge, a commitment between Airmen who fly," she said. "The Air Force wants to cultivate and instill that same culture of commitment between all Airmen and Air Force civilians in all career fields and specialties."

All Team Robins members play a role, Campbell said.    

"A good wingman takes care of his fellow Airmen and takes action when signs of trouble are observed," she said, "especially in situations where Airmen appear as if they are about to make a poor decision, are in despair or show signs of hurting themselves or others."   

Campbell said a good wingman can sense when someone needs help.

"Good wingmen step in when they notice signs of distress in the areas of physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness," she said.

"Good wingmen also know that seeking help is a sign of strength. Wingmen should overcome beliefs that interfere with being a good wingman, because seeking assistance is consistent with the warrior image and leaders, coworkers, family, and friends should support decisions to seek help."   

Characteristics of good wingmen include being able to recognize situations that represent risk and wingmen who are showing signs of distress.  

"They should also know when to inform others, including leadership, when distressed wingmen are identified," Campbell said. "In addition, good wingmen should actively take steps to ease potential stressors and assist wingmen by talking to them, understanding their situation and needs, and helping them access appropriate helping resources."

Finally, good wingmen follow up with their peers to ensure the issue has been resolved, Campbell said.

Whether at work or off duty, good wingmen take the time to listen to their wingmen, offer hope, and let them know he or she is available if they need help without judgment, Campbell said.

Tools that enable Airmen to fulfill the wingman role are just a computer mouse click away.

"Most computers at Robins have a 'You Matter' desktop icon, which links to all the helping agencies on base," Campbell said. "In addition, if you don't have a wingman card, you can contact the 78th Air Base Wing Director of Psychological Health, Maj Michelle Gramling in the Mental Health Clinic at (478) 327-8398."  

Base Resources

Installation Community Support Coordinator Lesley Darley - (478) 327-7692 - can direct anyone interested to the appropriate resources based on their needs. She is the base point of contact for resiliency training.

Those interested in learning more on enhancing their resilience skills and who want to help others can volunteer to serve as a unit Resilience Skills Assistant, should also contact Darley.