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Wingman day…all day, everyday

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., -- We're halfway through November, the holidays will soon be upon us. In a few short weeks, families and friends will be gathered around the dining room table giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in our daily lives, enjoying our Thanksgiving Day feasts, and maybe watching a football game or two.

Before we realize it, the Christmas tree will be decorated, the little ones nestled in their beds, hoping jolly old Saint Nick will be paying a visit and bringing them their favorite toy.

While the holidays are a time to rejoice and spend time with family members and friends, a lot of our Airmen are geographically separated from their families during this joyous season.

Whether a family of four separated from grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins or a single Airman living in the dormitory, the holidays can prove to be a very stressful time of the year for many.

At this point, some of you are probably saying, "so what? How does this affect me?" Good question and one which I'd like to take a few moments to address.

The 72d Air Base Wing has designated Nov. 14 as Wingman Day. We all know what Wingman Day is; a day set aside for squadron personnel to break into small groups and address current Air Force issues, discuss personal responsibility, or Culture of Responsible Choices (CoRC), promote wellness across the emotional, social, physical and spiritual spectrums and encourage teamwork within the organization.

All right, now those of you still reading this article are probably saying, "I'm totally confused. How did we go from discussing the holidays to Wingman Day and what's the correlation between the two?" Another good question and one that I'll answer as I tie this all together.

The principles we emphasize on Wingman Day don't just apply on Nov. 14, they apply day in and day out throughout your unit or organization. From commanders and first sergeants to flight chiefs and supervisors to the lowest-ranking Airman in your unit, we all have a responsibility to be a good Wingman and take care of each other, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The importance of being a good Wingman takes on added emphasis during the holiday season. Traditionally, the holidays can be a very depressing time for many Americans, including our Airmen.

Being away from family and friends during the holidays, or perhaps added stress as we struggle with increasing credit card debt so we can purchase the newest electronic gadget for our 12-year old son as the economy continues its downward spiral, can affect anyone. Feelings of depression and hopelessness can set in, leading to suicidal thoughts, and if not handled properly, suicidal gestures or even suicide.

The last verse of the Airman's Creed states, "I am an American Airman. Wingman, Leader, Warrior. I will never leave an Airman behind. I will never falter. And I will not fail."

Be a good Wingman and look out for your fellow Airmen every day, not just on November 14th or during the holiday season. We can't afford to falter or fail ... someone's life may depend on it.