Monday, January 09, 2006

Wingman Day and the Cowardly Lion

We have this ossifer who gets it. I'm not going to provide an example of this, but I've read one of his WITs in which this is demonstrated. Reminiscent of the great denBeste it was a clear announcement that he "got it" even though it was never meant for that.

One of his previous WITs had this particular passage that I have been meaning to post for months now, but with the holiday season and all the stress and goings on, I simply stopped posting for a while. This was written by Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke, and was something that needed to be said regarding the role of the wingman, or simply the role of a good friend, good citizen and good American in life.

Hey, I'm not gonna lecture, but let me tell you in the end what Wingman Day is all about. It's all essentially about Courage. Yeah, that's right. And you know it, too, before I even explain why, don't you?

You know when you're all at the bar, and Mister Popular, the group-accepted Joe Cool, is ordering that one-too-many-drinks…or you see him getting a little too frisky with the new female airman that's still vulnerable and young and looking for someone to be her friend…or you know your buddies are supposed to be working a critical job in the morning, but they all want to go to "just one more joint" to "check out what's happnin'." And if you say something, you figure they'll call you a pansy, or even worse, just give you that look, the one that says "if you aren't man enough, then go on home…loser."

Or you've been watching a friend slowly slip into depression…you know things are tough…and once in a while they say something that scares you just a little…but it's never something really obvious like "I'm planning to kill myself tonight with a handgun in my car at the overlook," it's more subtle, it's things like "Sometimes I wish I was dead" or "I'm just worthless, and if something happened to me, nobody would notice or care." So, hey, you just say "Hey, c'mon, it's not so bad" and you crack a joke and everything's okay, isn't it, even though in the back of your mind you keep thinking "Man, if they end up dead I am going to wish I'd said something to somebody."

My point is this: Most of us know What Needs to be Said and Who Needs to Hear It...but we all tend to avoid confrontation and embarrassing or awkward situations...because we don't have the Courage to do it. And we need to steel ourselves to do it. We need that Courage.

Do you realize that the odds are that if you don't speak up, everything will turn out okay? That they probably won't crash and kill themselves or the child in the other car? That they'll probably be alive the next morning?

Just so you understand that their safety was a matter of dumb luck, and not because you didn't need to have the guts to "rein them in." You should have. You could have. You just needed to have some courage--the courage to do what you know is right.

You wanna be really cool? Be a good Wingman. Don't just talk about it. Don't just joke about it in that cynical way that says "We're too cool for that official 'wingman b.s.'!" Be a Wingman most especially during those few times when your buddies need you there for them. It's like flying. The good wingman checks his buddy's six while his buddy is too busy looking at the target in front of him, not realizing he's about to be the target!

I'll point out that this was re-printed without his permission, and as I know it he won't actually give official permission to re-print his writings. Simply put he knows the WITs go out all over the world via e-mail to family and friends of blue-suiters and there is probably somebody else blogging it, but he writes for himself and his people and he doesn't want to write for the blogosphere because then his WITs will be written with that in mind.
His focus is the USAF and his people.


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