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Wingman Day to bring Airmen together for entire community

by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor

Over the past year, the culture of the Air Force has transformed into a society more conscious of its responsibility to take care of its members. The Wingman concept, which the Air Force has adopted, has spawned friendships, briefings and discussion groups to consider relevant issues for today's Airmen.

Here at MacDill, Wingman Day has become an outlet for Airmen of all ranks to get together and decide how to best serve the Air Force and themselves, and in turn, accomplish the mission more effectively. The next Wingman Day, scheduled for Nov. 9, will consist of multiple discussion groups at various locations around MacDill in the morning and community projects that afternoon, said Capt. Dalene Kosobuki, Wingman Day coordinator.

The discussion groups will focus on several topics, including the Air Force culture, career development, the expeditionary Air Force, customer service, quality of life, operations tempo, unit morale, work environments, leadership, growing professionals and more.

"The goal for this Wingman Day is similar to the last; to bring Airmen from across the wing together and give them the opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to them," said Col. Maggie Woodward, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander.

There will be a special guest speaker for one group; Dr. Christopher Hemmer, associate professor for the Air War College's Department of International Studies. He will be on hand to talk with Airmen about the Global War on Terrorism and the efforts of the Air Force.

As a prerequisite to the meeting, Airmen attending his group have some homework to do. It consists of reading "Clash of Civilizations" by Samuel L. Huntington, a Political scientist, and "Imperial Hubris, Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism" by Michael Scheuer, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst.

The intent of Dr. Hemmer's discussion is to give Airmen a forum to think about and discuss issues at the strategic level. As the day turns to the afternoon, the community service element of the day will come into play as Airmen fan out into the base for various projects designed to make MacDill a better place to live and work.

Captain Kosobuki said the projects will consist of several groups of Airmen planting trees, cleaning the shoreline and even reading to some students at Tinker Elementary School here on base.

"An important part of the Wingman concept is the building of a community throughout the wing and instilling pride and ownership. The addition of the afternoon projects is to remind us all that it's our responsibility to build our neighborhood and make it better every single day," said Colonel Woodward, adding that future projects will be chosen by the Airmen involved. "Hopefully those participating will learn how rewarding it is to work together and make a difference."

Gen. John Jumper, former Air Force chief of staff, initiated the Wingman concept in light of the alarmingly high suicide rate in the Air Force in 2004.

He believed that Airmen must each make a conscious choice each and every day, to ensure that they are thinking, preparing and acting in accord with the Air Force's core values and serving as wingmen to fellow Airmen.

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