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The essentials: A good Wingman

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Bringing in a new year can be full of surprises. You never know exactly how your year will turn out, but you hope for the best and keep trudging along down the road of life awaiting the next adventure, challenge or miracle to make its way onto your path.

Don't be afraid to go the extra mile and challenge yourself and others to have a productive, successful year.

This is one of the many important characteristics of a good Wingman. Not only is a good Wingman there for you when you are in need of a ride home after a night on the town, a good Wingman is there to help you in all other aspects of Air Force life. At work. At home. Anywhere.

Being a good Wingman means pushing others to meet their full potential and being there when others are in need. It also means knowing fellow Airmen well enough to know when something is wrong and having an idea on how to make things right.

Joining the Air Force, whether you are enlisted, commissioned or a civilian, provides you with the capacity for creating connections and relationships with fellow Airmen. In turn, you create a network of people who may eventually be considered an extended part of your family. These people in your network are your Wingmen.

Realizing who your Wingmen are is a very important aspect of living the military life. Not long ago, I began to realize Wingmen can be found in the most common of places. They are in the office, in the dorms, in other squadrons and even on other bases. Though all of these Wingmen differ in background and personality, each one has the capability of aiding in certain circumstances.

Because of the diversity of the Air Force, you might also find this to be true - that Wingmen can offer assistance in their respective areas of specialty. For example, one Wingman may know where you can get additional training in your career field, another may be able to provide you with solid financial advice and someone else may have the best recipe for chili cheese nachos.

Wingmen. They are an essential aspect of military life. Find them. Accept them. Let them into your life. But also be sure to return the favor.

(This commentary is the first in a series about essential functions of the military.)