McConnell Reservists participate in Wingman Day 2017

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing
Members of the Air Force Reserve 931st Air Refueling Wing participated in a Wingman Day event here, Aug. 6, 2017, during the August Unit Training Assembly.

In contrast to years past, Airmen were grouped with people from within their units for the team building exercises. The exercise took place at the Dole Center, where Airmen entered classrooms to build boats out of cardboard and tape. The boats had to be completed within a short amount of time.

Once completed, the six teams carried their “boats” to the base pool. The designated team “captain” then raced the boat from one end of the pool to the other. After a few rounds, and a couple of sunken “ships,” the 931 ARW Staff were declared the winners.

Though the competition was a big part of the day, Tech. Sgt. Craig Sammartano, Wingman Day 2017 organizer, said the exercise was an analogy for taking life as it comes. The “boat” exercise was meant to show the Airmen that not everything is in their control, and how they can cope and persevere with the equipment they have, in this case, cardboard, tape, and their fellow Airmen, he said.

Airman 1st Class Camen Nordstrom, 931st Operations Support Squadron Intelligence Airman, who recently joined the Wing this past year, enjoyed the exercise, as well as interacting with Reservists in different career fields.

“I really liked seeing the community come together in civilian clothes and watching people interact without all the military decorum,” he said. “I’m still learning who everyone is, so for me, this was a lot of fun.”
Sammartano, who took on organizing Wingman Day six months ago, said the light-hearted interactions between the Airmen was one of his main goals for the day.

"Instead of briefing people on this, I wanted for them to experience it in a fun exorcise; I wanted to bring out their inner kid," said Sammartano. “Often times, people get burnt out from work and other stressors and they are too tired at the end of the day to have fun. This day should be about team building and fun in a relaxed environment.”

Wingman Day is an annual Air Force-wide event. The purpose of Wingman Day is to reinforce comradery and strengthen the bond between units. The concept of having a wingman goes all the way back to World War I, when the armed forces started using planes in combat. Both Allies and Axis air forces used the concept of never going up alone into a dog fight.