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Wingman Day puts focus on Airmen

150503-Z-EZ686-006 -- Col. Edward Vaughan, director of safety for the National Guard Bureau, gives a presentation to the members of the 127th Wing on the annual Wingman Day at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., on May 3, 2015.  The Annual Wingman Day focuses on  reinforcing the wingman concept as the foundation to building resilient Airman. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by MSgt. David Kujawa/Released)

150503-Z-EZ686-006 -- Col. Edward Vaughan, director of safety for the National Guard Bureau, gives a presentation to the members of the 127th Wing on the annual Wingman Day at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., on May 3, 2015. The Annual Wingman Day focuses on reinforcing the wingman concept as the foundation to building resilient Airman. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by MSgt. David Kujawa/Released)

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- The 127th Wing's annual Wingman Day reinforced the wingman concept as the foundation to building resilient Airmen.

The coordinator of the event, Maj. Tate Whitener, 127th Wing chief of safety, planned the Wingman Day to help emphasize the importance of Airmen and to increase the awareness of tools available for Airmen to adjust easily to misfortune or change.

The speakers for Wingman Day were the 127th Wing commander Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum and Col. Edward Vaughan, director of safety for the National Guard Bureau. The topics of discussion included the importance for Airmen to stay fit mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.

Slocum emphasized the importance of taking care of each other and recognizing when fellow Airmen need help.  Slocum gave examples of how aviators have a wingman to watch for oncoming attacks in views that may not be seen by the pilot. 

Vaughan's discussion emphasized the importance of family. 

According to Vaughn, Wingman Day gave the Airmen an "Opportunity to refocus on priorities -- people we care about, our family and our fellow Airmen."

Senior Airmen Pamela Brewer of the 127th Logistic Readiness Squadron said that "The Wingman Day speakers were thought provoking. The stories, videos and discussions were exceptional."

Wingman Day is designed to invoke discussions to provide skills and strategies related to topics such as health, mission performance, and unit cohesion. Guardsmen and reservists are required to participate in one Wingman Day per year.

Staff Sgt. Sarah Wright of the 127th Force Sustainment Squadron explained that the videos and examples really explained her life story. 

"I felt that the speakers connected with the Airman," Wright said, "It was real. They get it." 

She also mentioned "It was a really good presentation sometimes we lose focus on why we are here, however we are to complete our mission and look out for our fellow Airmen."

The Wingman Day is more than a one-day event.  It is designed to establish a culture of taking care of Airmen 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

Members can access resources on line by visiting http://wingmanday.org/resource-links/ and www.readyairman.org.

Other resources that are on base include Whitener, the base safety manager; Capt. Valerie Ward of the Equal Opportunity office; Master Sgt. Rachel Vermeesch of Family Services; Marsha Candela, director of psychological health; and 127th Wing Chaplain Major Larry Loree.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.