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Airmen taking care of Airmen: Commander's call kicks off Wingman Day

by 2nd Lt. Larry van der Oord
Chief of Internal Information
Photo by Airman 1st Class Carlye LaPointe

Prior to the start of Monday's commander's call, Brig. Gen. Tanker Snyder, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, presented Staff Sgt. Michael Merritt, 6th Operations Support Squadron, with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic efforts as part of an AC-130 Gunship crew during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Taking care of your fellow Airmen, stepping in when your "wingman" needs help, and focusing on safety when accomplishing any task were all themes emphasized during Monday's Wingman Day kick-off at the Base Theater.

The commander's call, presented by Brig. Gen Tanker Snyder, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, served as the center-piece of Wingman Day at MacDill.

The Wingman Day concept was established by Gen. John P. Jumper, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, to further instill a culture in the Air Force in which Airmen focus on taking care of Airmen.

"We are the world's greatest air and space power because of you, America's Airmen," said General Jumper.

During Wingman Day at MacDill, members of the wing participated in different activities throughout the day giving Airmen the chance to enjoy the camaraderie of the individuals with whom they work. Some of the activities included unit commander's calls, training and information sessions, unit cookouts, fitness activities and assembling care packages for members of the wing that are currently deployed.

Throughout the day Airmen focused on key points laid out by General Jumper in his recent Sight Picture. These points included, taking care of each other; we are all Airmen; our jobs are stressful and Airmen should know where to turn for help; and the unnecessary loss of a single Airman is unacceptable.

During the commander's call General Snyder stressed the importance of being a wingman for your fellow Airmen and for your family. He explained that stress in unavoidable in our demanding jobs, and we all must work together to support each other.

While focusing on safety, General Snyder reminded all Airmen that we must continue to work toward our goal of zero mishaps.

"Operational risk management and safety must be part of our daily lives, at home, at work, at play, when deployed and when on leave," said General Snyder. "Airmen are the number one resource we have."

To further illustrate the idea of Airmen taking care of Airmen, General Snyder also spoke about some of the new base facilities and renovations which are part of MacDill's 2010 vision, including the construction of 321 new homes to replace the old base housing units.

"It all ties together," said General Snyder. "Whether it's taking care of your buddies and making sure they are safe, ensuring your work environment is professional and free from harassment or ensuring our Airmen have world-class facilities, we must always seek ways to look out for each other. That's what being a good wingman is all about."




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