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The term Wingman stems from a time-honored tradition within our Air Force flying community that says a Wingman will always stay with and protect the lead pilot, watching his or her back. It's a promise, a pledge, a commitment between Airmen. We are all Airmen—every Air Force Civilian, Officer and Enlisted member is an Airman and plays a role in our success as a community.
At the foundation of the “Culture of Airmen” are our core values – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. We accomplish our mission as a dedicated team committed to our core values and to each other. Success rests with Airmen engaging with other Airmen in a way that fosters communication and connection. Practicing being a good Wingman needs to happen daily.
What is a bystander?
Bystanders are individuals who witness potentially high-risk situations and by their presence, may have the opportunity to help stop a negative behavior.
Empowered or pro-social bystanders are individuals who make a choice to intervene to prevent or interrupt these potentially dangerous situations, and confront inappropriate behaviors.
What is the connection between Wingmen and bystanders?
Most problematic behaviors involve bystanders. Airmen are encountering situations where intervening to protect their Wingmen would be appropriate including, among other things, alcohol abuse, hazing or bullying, suicide ideation, safety mishaps, sexual assault, and equal opportunity treatment incidents. In most instances a problem could have been avoided with intervention. The Air Force has been providing Airmen the skills to identify early warning signs of problematic behaviors and intervene in a way that is realistic for them. The bottom line is, “True Wingmen look out for the welfare of their peers and community.”
What training is available to teach Wingmen positive bystander intervention skills?
We know most Airmen want to voluntarily do the right thing. The most important thing is to make sure they have tools that are actionable within the reality of their daily lives.
Foundational Bystander Intervention training is provided to all new incoming Airmen at their accession source or first duty assignment. On-going training is provided for the Total Force on an annual basis.
The intent of the training is to create an environment of dignity, respect, and connectedness throughout the Air Force and equip bystanders with connection, knowledge and skills to increase protective and reactive bystander behaviors. Proactive behaviors set cultural norms that negative behaviors will not be tolerated.
The goals of Bystander Intervention training are to raise awareness of proactive behaviors using the 3 D’s (Direct, Delegate, Distract); to increase the motivation to help develop skills and confidence to intervene and assist when necessary; and ensure the safety and well-being of self and others.
Direct, Delegate, Distract:
Edwards Air Force Base
Eglin Air Force Base
Hanscom Air Force Base
Hill Air Force Base
Robins Air Force Base
Tinker Air Force Base
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Success rests with Airmen engaging with other Airmen in a way that fosters communication and connection. Practicing being a good Wingman needs to be a daily occurrence.
A good Wingman:
Gets involved, i.e. knows their fellow Airmen
Is alert for signs of danger from whatever source
Takes action when necessary to protect their Wingman, both on and off duty
How you can help:
Do you have a Wingman Intervention story to share?
Have you witnessed your fellow military or civilian Airmen take action to protect their Wingman either at work or off-duty? Let us know!
Complete the Wingman Intervention Submission Form, and email it to the Violence Prevention Integrator for your installation.
In an effort to highlight the positive actions of our Wingmen, stories will be shared across the command as great examples of how one small act can make a huge difference.