Bridging the gap

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Chief Master Sgt. James Lyda, 355th Wing command chief master sergeant, plays ping-pong during Boss and Buddy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 9, 2019. Boss and Buddy has a variety of entertainment including ping-pong, corn hole and other games. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

In the daily grind of training and preparing to win the high-end fight, it can be hard to step away and develop the relationship between Airmen and their leadership.

The senior leaders across the 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., realized this and have taken the initiative to approach the issue with Boss and Buddy.

Boss and Buddy is an event held weekly at 3 p.m. at the base community center, where Airmen can socialize and connect with their leadership and other Airmen, to include wing leadership.

“One of the biggest things we [squadron commanders] saw during the Resiliency Tactical Pause is that Airmen want more touchpoints with leadership and peers in a non-mission focused environment,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Casey Wyman, 355th Comptroller Squadron commander.

The program creates new opportunities for communication in a more social environment.

Senior Airman Anthony Smith, 355th Comptroller Squadron finance technician, talks with other Airmen during Boss and Buddy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 9, 2019. Boss and Buddy is an event held weekly at 3 p.m. at the Community Center on base. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

“This event lets us pull ourselves away from the work environment and really connect with people,” said Wyman. “As a squadron commander, you always want to be able to listen to your Airmen, and now we have the chance to step away and do that by talking about whatever they want to talk about.”

The event encourages communication by hosting activities, such as video games and corn hole, to help find common ground for conversation.

“This event has helped me build relationships within my unit without the formalities of the shop,” said Airman 1st Class Ryanna Hooper-Catuga, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic manager. “It has really been beneficial in making connections to help me grow and get where I want to be.”

Col. Michael R. Drowley, 355th Wing commander, pins rank on Tech. Sgt. Bradley Pennypacker, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of facilities, during Boss and Buddy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 2, 2019. Pennypacker was promoted through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers Program, promoting him immediately from staff sergeant to technical sergeant. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

It facilitates Airmen to connect with their leadership all the way up their chain of command and get to know those leading them day-to-day.

“In our day-to-day grind, it’s hard to really get to know those leading you,” said Hooper-Catuga. “Boss and Buddy has really allowed me to start getting to know my leadership on a more personal level.”

From Airmen to commanders, everyone impacts the mission and everyone has a role, but sometimes it is beneficial to step out of that role and simply just socialize.

“The Air Force as a whole is talking about how to better connect with everyone,” said Wyman. “It’s not just leadership to Airmen or supervisors to supervisors, it’s everyone. The Air Force is pushing for that development and Boss and Buddy is just one way Davis-Monthan is leading the Air Force in connecting with their Airmen.”
 

Airman 1st Class Nicholas Manuel, 355th Comptroller Squadron finance technician, plays jenga during Boss and Buddy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 2, 2019. Boss and Buddy has a variety of entertainment including ping-pong, corn hole and other games. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)

 
First Lt. Frederick Meade, 79th Rescue Squadron combat systems officer, plays a virtual game with another Airman during Boss and Buddy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 2, 2019. Boss and Buddy is an event held weekly at 3 p.m. at the Community Center on base. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)