It Takes A Village (Wing)
By Lt. Col. Mary-Thom Williams, 180th Fighter Wing
/ Published July 15, 2008
July 2008 -- We are all familiar with the saying "It takes a village to raise a child," here at the 180th Fighter Wing let's change that phrase to "It takes a Wing to raise an airman!" It is truly the responsibility of each and every member of the 180th FW to successfully mold a new recruit from a civilian into a dynamic airman, in other words, to raise him or her.
Raise an airman? What does that mean? How do we raise an airman? We have laid the groundwork by creating the Student Flight Program. The SFP is "designed to efficiently and effectively transition newly assigned prior and non-prior service enlisted personnel, to a mission- oriented military environment." The program is composed of two parts. The first part is the Orientation Program. Orientation is where all inprocessing actions are completed for both prior and non-prior newly enlisted personnel. Orientation is held on the Saturday and Sunday of each UTA, non-prior service members upon completion of Orientation will enter into the training component.
The second component of the SFP is the training portion. This is a five-month program where information and guidance is provided for nonprior newly enlisted personnel. The
subject areas include professional development, Air Force and Air National Guard history and heritage, history of the 180th FW, understanding of Air Force core values, and other topics to ensure successful completion of Basic Military Training.
This is where the village (Wing) part comes in. In order for this program to continue to be successful, we need people. We need people to be instructors (Team Leaders), to act as a Wingman, to serve on the Student Flight Committee, and to provide leadership. As Uncle Sam would say "We Need You!"
Is this you? Do you present a professional military image and carry yourself in a manner that reflects the Air Force Core Values? Are you good at coordinating and planning training programs? Do you have experience as a classroom instructor or trainer? Are you good at multitasking? Do you like working with groups of thirty to forty young (and not
so young) people? If so, then have your commander submit your name for the NCOIC of Student Flight, this is a one year commitment. This commitment includes working with the Student Flight from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. -4:30 p.m. on Sunday of each UTA.
Maybe you don't have the amount of time needed to be the NCOIC but you want to be a part of the program. Then maybe this is the job for you...we are in need of Team Leaders. A Team Leader is an instructor; you will have the responsibility for teaching a class or two during the year. The time commitment away from your job will be minimal,
the actual length of time will depend on the subject that is taught, but at the most I would estimate about two to six hours per year. Submit your name for this position through your unit commander.
Instructing not your favorite thing to do? How about being a Wingman? When a newly assigned individual begins the Student Flight Program, a Wingman is appointed from the individual's gaining unit. The Wingman looks out for the new recruit, ensures the time spent in the gaining unit is productive and he or she feels like part of the 180th FW team. Don't wait to be selected. Step forward and let your First Sergeant know of your willingness to be part of the village.
Still strapped for time? Then become a member of the Student Flight Committee. This committee requires representation from each squadron throughout the Wing. The committee is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the Student Flight Program. They will make suggestions for changes and/or improvements as needed. Contact 2nd Lt Cobbin, OIC, Student Flight and become a part of this decision-making team.
It is ultimately your choice the level of commitment you give in support of the Student Flight Program, be it as NCOIC, Wingman, Team Leader, or committee member. However, as a member of the 180th FW (village) we all play a role in raising the young (child) unit member. When we successfully mentor, motivate and encourage our newest members, we in turn become a stronger and more vital unit. Each member of the 180th FW is bound by the Airman's Creed. With this creed we make certain commitments to the nation, the Air Force and to each other. Never forget that the commitment to each other does extend to our newest recruits. I encourage each and every unit member to be an active member of the village. Remember... "It takes a Wing to raise an Airman!"