Vandenberg's Wingman Day 'madness'
By Staff Sgt Erica Picariello, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 21, 2013
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE , Calif. - -- Say 'Goodbye' to the Wingman Days of yester-year, chalked full of one-way conversations and online presentations - Vandenberg has gone collegiate with this 'madness.'
Vandenberg stepped-up their effort to reach Airmen and civilians during this semi-annual Wingman Day requirement March 15 by focusing on a "March Madness" theme and making the topics more like classes.
"Wingman University is the forum to which we bring Wingman Day to 30th Space Wing," said Pauline Chui, 30th Space Wing community support coordinator and Wingman Day orchestrator. "It becomes our signature style for Wingman day. We chose a collegiate setting so that it would be a comfortable atmosphere where learning was encouraged for everyone. We liked the idea of offering many different types of resilience classes where the student had the choice to select which class to attend."
To make the collegiate theme relevant, Chui and a panel of base representatives chose to focus on what some call the most important month for college basketball.
"We wanted to make this Wingman Day fun and exciting," Chui said, "So, we just had fun with weaving March Madness and basketball in to every facet of Wingman Day. Having a theme definitely helps to promote the event. It makes an event exciting and fresh. You could definitely feel the excitement and enthusiasm of this wingman day because of all the excitement and enthusiasm everyone had in planning the event."
Wingman University "students" were able to choose different mandatory classes to attend that focused on an aspect of strengthening personal resiliency. The course list included topics ranging from a class on interpersonal relationship skills called, "Keep yourself in-bounds," to a class on how to brand yourself called, "Making yourself a first round draft pick."
"Our goal was to bring the best Wingman Day to every member of Team Vandenberg because they deserve it," Chui said. "We wanted to give everyone tools they could use to build their resilience in order to better cope with life's stressors."
Some Team V members thought the ability to choose was the best change.
"Other Wingman Days focused on mandatory briefings that everyone had to go to and it was the same topics over and over again," said Staff Sgt. Lance Russell, Vandenberg Dorm Manager. "I really appreciated the ability to choose a class that I thought would best fit my resiliency needs."
The class day culminated with lunch and an expo that featured booths by Lompoc Police Department, Airman Against Drunk Driving, The Vandenberg Health and Wellness Center, 30th Space Wing Sequestration and Furlough information, Community College of the Air Force, mental health, Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Prevention Treatment, Vandenberg Fitness Center, and Darren Keola Personal Fitness. There were also interactive activities like a 30th SW Safety Office sponsored 4-wheeler obstacle course where drivers could wear goggles that simulated being drunk, a bouncy castle and a final-four basketball shoot-out that pitted an "MVP" from each squadron on base against each other.
"Before taking the first shot, the MVP had to complete a rigorous metabolic conditioning workout developed by Darren Savella, the personal trainer at the gym," Chui said. "Each MVP had to do 20 box jumps, 20 push-ups and 20 sit-ups... by the time they were done with that, they were so tired. "
Suddenly, the Wingmen concept joined the "madness."
"What I saw was other members of [the MVP's] unit stepping up and offering to do the work-out for them so that they wouldn't be worn down to take their shot, Chui said. "I saw Lt. Col. Marty, 30th Force Support Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Yates, 381st Training Support Squadron commander, telling their MVP, 'hey, let me do this for you.' That was very inspiring. It wasn't planned, but it just captured the exact concept of what we wanted to promote in this wingman day."