Commentary

December 21, 2012

In hurricane’s wake, cynic learns lesson

by Shawn J. Jones
514th Air Mobility Wing public affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Prior to Hurricane Sandy, I thought the Air Force’s wingman concept was just a gimmick that encouraged Airmen to poke their noses into my business, or worse, required me to poke my nose into someone else’s business.

For goodness sake, I thought, can’t an Airman just have a bad day without another Airman trying to help? Do these nose-pokers really care, or are they just doing their duty so when the next tragedy happens, no one will call them bad wingmen?

Personally, I doubted their motivation and sincerity.

You could have called me a cynic then, but not now. No, sir, I am reformed. It just took a natural disaster of historic proportions for me to learn the lesson.

Thank you very much Hurricane Sandy, or more appropriately, my gratitude should be directed to the reservists of the 514th Air Mobility Wing.

Many of these Airmen live in and around the areas that were devastated by the hurricane and while many were victims, more were wingmen and heroes.

When one senior noncommissioned officer’s home was gutted by floodwaters, he faced a recovery process that would require many hours of hard labor. However, in the days that followed the storm, Airmen from his squadron started showing up at his door, ready to work. Several helped day after day, providing the labor and support to keep their fellow Airman from becoming overwhelmed.

I was impressed by his selfless wingmen, but we’re talking about a senior, full-time employee of a Reserve squadron. Of course, the wingmen show up to help him, right?

Yes, but no. Wingmen are not just for the full-time crowd in this wing. When Airmen in another unit learned that one of their traditional reservists, who was taking care of his family (including several young children and his elderly parents), had lost power and whose food supplies were dwindling, they were quick to act. An on-the-spot fundraiser yielded $400, which was immediately used to purchase food and supplies for the grateful Airman.

I thought I was starting to get this wingman concept. Airmen will help Airmen regardless of whether they serve in full-time positions or as traditional reservists. If you’ve got a uniform, you’ve got a wingman, right?

Yes, but no. Having a uniform had nothing to do with it.

With her husband off fighting a war in a faraway land, one pregnant military spouse remained trapped in her apartment building as flood waters began to fill the lower floors. The wing’s Airmen & Family Readiness office continuously communicated with her and the spouses of other deployed Airmen before, during and after the hurricane. Her needs weren’t neglected just because she was separated from her Airman husband.

Okay, okay, I get it. I work for a unique wing with an abnormal supply of selflessness.

Yes, but no. The selflessness is in high supply, but that’s not unique to this wing.

Several days after the hurricane, a letter arrived containing a significant donation for the Airmen who were affected by the hurricane. It came from Airmen from another wing in another part of the country. They saw the need to help fellow Airmen without needing to know the names or see the faces of those who would benefit from their generosity.

Well, I have learned my lesson. There are many good wingmen wearing Air Force blue and they are willing to help full-time Airmen, part-time Airmen, the spouses of Airmen, Airmen they know well and Airmen they do not know at all.

No longer will I look so skeptically upon the nose-pokers known as wingmen.

I have seen it paid forward and if the situation calls for it, I too will be a nose poker.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Protecting your possessions while on vacation

Somewhere in southern Sicily a man at a remote café sighs, refreshed after a day of climbing hills, thanks to his new black support socks. Opposite him, his wife proudly thrusts her shoulders forward to accentuate her red Yoga T-shirt, even though she has the physique of a woman who loves double ladles of crème...
 
 

Investment in Vets produces tomorrow’s leaders

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014 – The promise of a better tomorrow made to U.S. military veterans of World War II seven decades ago with the signing of the original GI Bill is the same promise the nation is keeping with its newest veterans and their families through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, President Barack Obama said...
 
 

National Safety Month: Preventing vehicle-induced heatstroke deaths

Just because a car isn’t moving doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, in 2013, 43 children died from heatstroke inside vehicles – one of the deadliest years to date. These tragedies can happen to anyone, but are preventable with the proper education and action. This National Safety Month, the National Safety...
 

 

VA releases results of nationwide audit

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the results from its Nationwide Access Audit, along with facility level patient access data, medical center quality and efficiency data, and mental health provider survey data, for all Veterans health facilities. Full details were made public at VA.gov, June 9, following Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson’s...
 
 

Safety month focuses on unintended injuries

Itasca, IL – June is National Safety Month, and the National Safety Council (NSC) is calling on Americans to take notice of the fifth leading cause of death – unintentional injuries. Every four minutes someone in the U.S dies from an unintentional injury. That’s 120,000 people a year. Sixty-seven percent of all injury-related deaths in...
 
 

VA Secretary vows to earn your trust

Fellow Veterans and Family Members, After 38 years in The Army, I am now honored and privileged to serve as your Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA remains committed to providing the high quality benefits you have earned and deserve. Allegations of VA employees’ misconduct have surfaced over the last several weeks, beginning with scheduling...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin