An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Commentary Search

Being a good Wingman takes practice, determination

  • Published
  • By Geoff Gibson
  • 188th Wing Director of Psychological Health
We all need a good Wingman from time to time. Please be that Wingman when you notice that someone is having a hard time! Use the "ACE" model to reach out and help, and maybe even save a life.

Ask: Take a moment and check in with the person. Ask how they are doing, and ask directly, "Have you thought of killing yourself?"

Care: Whatever they say, just listen for a bit. Don't brush them off, minimize what they are feeling, or try to solve their problem. Just listen!

Escort: You may not be able to solve their problem, but there is a team ready to help them do just that! Connect them with helpers such as Chaplain, Airman
and Family Readiness, Wing Director of Psychological Health, or others who are ready to help. If the person is at risk of self-harm, stay with them and personally escort them to help.

Bonus for you: Practicing these skills makes you a better leader, friend, parent, and spouse. Are you a good listener? Practice listening when people talk to you, especially when they bring up uncomfortable topics. Practice staying there even if you feel like walking away. Practice looking them in the eyes even when you want to look elsewhere. Practice focusing on what they are saying, even when you want to focus on preparing your response. Being there for others makes you a better person, and a great Wingman! Download the mobile app "Wingman Project" for additional information and resources.
Traumatic and dangerous situations trigger a normal stress response in people.

We deal with these feelings in healthy ways by talking with others who have experienced similar situations or who understand and support us. If you had traumatic experiences, you may have trouble sleeping, feel constant stress, desire to avoid crowds, need to be in control, feel overly alert and can't relax, feel distant and emotionally detached from others, feel physically numb, or have difficulty with irritability or anger.
If you are experiencing any or all of these, please get the help you need to restore your body and mind. Help is available! See a member of your Triangle of Triumph or one of the other available resources for assistance, so you can get help and get on with your life and career. You can also download the mobile app "LifeArmor" for confidential self-assessment and additional resources.

The 188th Triangle of Triumph stands ready to assist you in just about any issue you or your Wingman may be facing; give us a call!

Chaplain: Lt. Col. Tom Smith (318) 918-9669
Wing Director of Psychological Health: Geoff Gibson (479) 431-9210
Airman and Family Readiness Program manager: Michelle Pike (479) 573-5167