Air Guardsmen jump through hoops to build camaraderie on Wingman Day

By Tech. Sgt. Jason Ketterer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Master Sgt. Josh Devine, a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron, climbs over a tire tower at Southern High School in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 10, 2011. Airmen from the 123rd SFS were at the high school to use the Junior ROTC obstacle course for a team-building exercise as part of Wingman Day activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron spent Dec. 10 navigating an obstacle course at Louisville’s Southern High School as part of a team-building exercise held in conjunction with Wingman Day.

Wingman Day is an annual event designed to promote resilience and focus attention on the physical, spiritual, social and psychological health of Airmen while building esprit de corps, said Master Sgt. Larry Bristow, 123rd Security Forces Squadron unit training manager.

The idea is for Airmen to learn the importance of taking care of themselves and their fellow troops — a goal which made the obstacle course a natural choice for Wingman Day activities, Bristow said.

He came up with the idea of using the obstacle course — maintained by Southern’s Army Junior ROTC program — while attending his son’s soccer game at the campus last year.

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Staff Sgt. Ed Nooning and Master Sgt. Josh Devine, members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Security Forces Squadron, help Tech. Sgt. Jesse Smith over an obstacle at Southern High School in Louisville, Ky., on December 10, 2011. Airmen from the 123rd SFS were at the high school to use the Junior ROTC obstacle course for a team-building exercise as part of Wingman Day activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

“When Wingman Day came around, we thought this would be a good event for the whole squadron to work together and become more familiar with each other,” he said.

Maj. Grant Simpson, commander of the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, said the course was a welcome change of pace from normal training at the Air Guard Base, which typically focuses on security patrols or other solitary activity.

“We get so sequestered in our computer training and everything else that a lot of times when you come to drill, you don’t get a chance to interact with people on another fire team or a different group,” he said.

The course features an un-anchored rope climb, low crawl, tower climb, tightrope, and 10-foot vertical wall.

“I think everybody did real well,” Simpson added, chuckling. “But they’re going to be hurting tomorrow.”

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