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Resiliency not just a pretty buzzword; it’s ‘a way of life’

Published: 01:16PM March 6th, 2014

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — We hear a lot of buzzwords in the Air Force today. Some of the most recent and heavily used are wingman and resiliency.

To me, the real question is what a wingman is, and how to build a more resilient force.

I consider the Air Force my family, and each and every member of the Air Force is my family member. You don’t become a good wingman or a resilient Airman by attending briefings or discussing it at commander’s calls. It is a mindset, and a way of life. This was brought home for me a few months ago at a briefing I attended.

While attending the Air Force First Sergeant Academy last fall, one of our guest speakers, a command chief master sergeant, told a story about meeting the parents of one of his Airmen at an event and described how the father seemed displeased.

The father was concerned for his son’s well-being. Who would take care of his daughter-in-law and new grandson while his son was gone?

The chief’s response to the worried father was simple: “Sir, I got it.”

This story, while simple, was profound. At that moment, I was reminded that I, too, am responsible for the health, morale, welfare and well-being of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives of people I most likely will never meet.

My first question for each and every Airman in our force today is simple: do you “got it?”

Do you got it for the struggling Airman, or the one causing you all that extra work? My second question is who’s got you? If you can’t answer that question, you need to reach out to someone. We all need wingmen —someone to watch our backs.