A good wingman can help avoid bad outcomes

  • Published
  • By Capt Robert Rossi
  • 71st Security Forces Squadron
As professionals and members of the greatest Air Force in the world, we are public figures, accountable to the highest standards of conduct, on and off duty, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. How we conduct ourselves is a direct reflection of the 71st Flying Training Wing and ultimately, the United States Air Force.
In four recent incidents involving 71st FTW personnel and alcohol, negative outcomes could have been avoided if someone had helped make good decisions when it became obvious that the individual involved in the incident was not in the best condition to do so themselves. Alcohol impairs judgment and when judgment is impaired, you're more likely to do things you normally would not do. The potential to make bad decisions increases. It is exactly in those situations that having a good "wingman" is critical.
In a recent presentation to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche made reference to what he described as the "wingman" culture, one in which we recognize the importance of having someone there to lend a helping hand when we need it most. If a situation develops where someone has put themselves in a position of jeopardy, do something. The message is a simple one: take care of each other and help others avoid circumstances that lead to bad outcomes.
As members of Team Vance, we all have the same goal: get everyone home safely. As public safety officers, members of the 71st Security Forces Squadron and civilian law enforcement officials have a responsibility to act when they witness a violation or feel that someone is endangering themselves or others. Avoid putting yourself in a situation where they are forced to act. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to drink alcohol in a public place, except where alcohol is sold under license to be consumed on the premises, such as the bar of a restaurant. On base, consumption of alcohol is authorized for individuals over the age of 21 in several different locations as listed in Vance AFB Supplement 1 to Air Force Instruction 34-219.
The 71st FTW does a tremendous job planning "party activities" and getting everyone home safely. If you drink, do so responsibly and have a designated driver. For those times when things don't work out exactly as planned, there are a couple of safety nets, including Vance Against Drunk Drivers. You can call VADD, 541-RIDE (officers) and 541-HOME (enlisted) and they will provide a ride home, no questions asked. And if you are on base, the Security Forces will help you get where you need to go. Just ask. It's all about Team Vance members taking care of each other.