An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Inspire Change. Impact Tomorrow. Be a Wingman.

WI logo 2019The 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. 

Resilience Videos

Wingman Concepts

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:

  • Direct:  You are directly interacting with the people involved in the situation and letting them know that you are concerned.  It may be a confrontation, “Hey, what are you doing?"  Or it may just be checking in with the person who might be in harm’s way, “Are you okay?”
  • Delegate:  When you recognize a potentially high-risk situation and you may be uncomfortable saying something yourself; pull in someone else to assist (e.g. security, commander, chaplain, a friend).
  • Distract:  If you see a situation and can think of a way to divert the attention of the people in the situation, distracting is the perfect option.


Defining Success

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:

  • Step up and act
    • It only takes one person to step up and help in a situation
    • Be the leader
  • Intervention
    • When you see a potentially dangerous situation, safely intervene on the behalf of the potential victim


 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.