By Staff Sgt. Stacy Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Airmen across the globe are sometimes away from family for days, months and even years.
Whether they are on a deployment, making their way through basic training or working a 12-hour shift in a remote location or stateside, the importance of their fellow wingman becomes amplified during the holidays.
Airmen, civilians and contractor personnel gained knowledge on how to be better wingmen, through a wing commander’s call, various group briefings and individual unit activities during Schriever’s 2009 Wingman Day Dec. 10.
Wingman Day is an Air Force-wide program, a day set aside to ensure that every staff, wing, unit and team stopped the daily routine and openly discuss not just suicide prevention, but also substance misuse, vehicle safety and various other topics.
Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing Commander, kicked the day off with an early morning commander’s call. He began the briefing by thanking the hard work put forth by members of Schriever’s snow removal team, who cleared the streets of the base during the season’s first severe winter storm.
Colonel Monteith also spoke about the importance of safety and preparation in regards to winter driving, as well as the process of instituting a snow delay or closure to the base.
“I gather all the information I can from all the right people and then agonize over the decision, because balancing the mission of this wing and the safety of our personnel is not a task I take lightly,” Colonel Monteith said. “Rest assured, I will never make a snap judgment when so much is at stake.”
Col. Kenneth Allison, 50th SW Vice Commander, then took the floor to speak on the subject of sexual assault awareness and prevention.
“The bottom line is that sexual assault is a crime,” Col. Allison said, asking the crowd to join him in repeating the statement. “Sexual assault is contrary to our Air Force culture.”
Additionally, he spoke about the difference in restricted and unrestricted reporting procedures, noting that many cases go unreported.
“The important thing to remember here is to report sexual assault if you are a victim, or know someone who is a victim,” Colonel Allison said. “Because it won’t end unless you do something.”
Colonel Monteith then closed by providing proud examples of the wing’s accomplishments in the past year, and setting goals for the coming year.
Following the commander’s call, individual groups were split up to attend informative seminars on topics such as suicide prevention, alcohol awareness, fitness tips, financial management and coping with holiday stress.
“December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month. As the holidays approach, people are more likely to drive impaired due to office parties, and family gatherings,” said Eddie Roski. “Remember if you are hosting a party or attending one, remind your guests to plan ahead, always have a designated driver, call a taxi, take away their keys and most importantly call the DASH, 55 NO DUI (556-6384).”
Squadrons and individual groups were then released for lunch and finished the day participating in team-building activities such as bowling, sports competitions and just spending time together in a relaxed atmosphere.
“As the holidays approach, it’s especially important to be good wingmen, share the good and bad times, and strengthen the bonds of our Air Force family,” said Colonel Monteith. “Wingman day allows us a time to regain that focus.”