USAFE stands down to focus on Airmen well-being

Tech. Sgt. Mona Ferrell
USAFE News Service

Focusing on the time-honored tradition of Airmen taking care of Airmen, U.S. Air Forces in Europe is having a Wingman Day Monday.

Consisting of a full-day stand down for the entire command, Wingman Day will focus on raising the awareness level of the Air Force’s most important asset – its people, said Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAFE commander.

Wingman Day will include wing, group and squadron-level briefings and interactive discussions down to the lowest level in flights or sections throughout the command.

“We all recognize the demand our current operational tempo places on each of us and our families,” the general said. “The recent increase in suicides across our Air Force is evidence more attention is warranted on these stressors – from the top to the bottom of our chain of command.”

Incorporated with the rollout of Combat Wingman, USAFE’s newest combat program, Wingman Day will focus on the whole-person wellness approach using the four dimensions of wellness model, said Col. (Dr.) Mark Ediger, USAFE Surgeon General director.

“Wellness is the major deterrent to suicide and key to living a fulfilling life,” said Dr. Ediger. “The four dimensions of wellness — our physical, emotional, social and spiritual anchors – enhance our resilience and prepare us to weather the storms and stressors of work and our lives in general. The four dimensions also give us a useful framework for assessing the strength of our wingmen to weather their storms.”

The four dimensions of wellness go beyond individual awareness, said Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
“When we join the Air Force, we become a part of a unique culture, and the foundation of this ‘Culture of Airmen’ is our core values – integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do,” General Jumper said. “This culture and these core values compel us as Airmen to take care of one another.”

While the wingman concept is not new, Wingman Day and Combat Wingman are being used collectively to broaden the radarscope, General Foglesong said.

“We can all be proud of our accomplishments over the last two years making our nation a safer place,” the general said. “Our USAFE mission has played a significant role to this end. But, now more than ever it is imperative that we check each other’s six.
“Wingman, but this isn’t a program that can be put to bed at the end of the day,” he continued. “It’s our duty and responsibility to institute Combat Wingman in our daily lives. We all need to be good wingmen and be guardians of each other’s well being.”