Wingman Day 2012 emphasizes the importance of being a good Wingman every day and caring for fellow Airmen during their time of need.
“The big focus for Wingman Day, which should be every day, is Wingmen taking care of Wingmen. I want to build that culture of resilience, ensuring our Wingmen and Airmen bounce back when they are going through a tough time in their personal and professional lives,” said Kimberly Shirley, Wingman Day coordinator for the base.
A resiliency training event featuring guest speaker Louis Zamperini, is open to base military and civilian personnel and will be held in the Base Theater beginning at 11 a.m. The event will detail how resiliency has played a key role in Zamperini’s life when faced with the unimaginable stress of being lost at sea for 47 days and enduring the cruelest of circumstances as a prisoner of war.
“Mr. Zamperini is here to talk to us about how he was resilient in everything that happened in his life. He has certainly gone through some trials and tribulations in his life and you can tell he had resilience because he is still here and wanting to share that message with others; that no matter what you go through, you can survive, you can make it,” said Shirley.
While in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, Capt. Louis Zamperini served as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator. While conducting a routine reconnaissance mission in 1943, his aircraft known as the Green Hornet experienced mechanical malfunctions and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing eight of the 11 crew members.
After drifting more than 1,000 nautical miles and losing an additional crew member, Zamperini and pilot, Russell Allen Phillips reached the Marshall Islands where they were captured by the Japanese Navy.
For 30 months, Zamperini was held as a POW, tortured and beaten by Mushuhiro Wantabe, nicknamed “The Bird,” who would later be named among Douglas MacArthur’s list of the 40 most wanted war criminals.
The New York Times bestseller, “Unbroken,” written by Laura Hillenbrand, details Zamperini’s remarkable story. It is available at the Base Exchange or at the Base Library. All are highly encouraged to familiarize themselves with his story before he speaks to Team Edwards on Wingman Day.
While questions will not be taken from the audience, questions can be submitted in advance to the 412th TW Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Dec. 5.
In addition to attending the resiliency training event, units are encouraged to participate in activities that support team building and create awareness about what it means to be a good Wingman and why it is so important.
“Edwards’ leadership chose to combine Wingman Day with a training day so half of the day is for respective units to accomplish training and the other half of the day should be dedicated to Wingman Day activities,” said Shirley.
To increase the reach and effectiveness of the training, 42 unit-level representatives were trained on available Air Force resources including teambuilding exercises, interactive videos and PowerPoint presentations. All of which are available on the Air Force Portal.
The Air Force and Edwards leadership have ensured resources are readily available to help build a culture of caring, beginning at the unit level. It is that culture of caring that makes Airmen successful in accomplishing the mission, as well as in their personal lives.
“Wingman Day is not just a day. It is a culture we must build to live in every day. A Wingman should be there to help during a time of need or crisis. Helping fellow Airmen make right decisions personally and professionally. A Wingman is not someone who knows all the answers. A Wingman is someone willing step up and help, who knows the available resources and where to send an Airman in need,” said Shirley.