Cyber Wingman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Crystal Sykes
  • 512 Operation Support Squadron
What is a wingman? Before I joined the Air Force, I would have described it as Maverick and Goose sitting in their fighter jet together. Since then, I learned a different meaning of this term “Wingman.” A wingman is someone who looks out for their peers and holds themselves accountable for what their peers do. A wingman is someone who upholds Air Force standards and continues to do so even when no one is looking. This concept also applies throughout social media.

Our Air Force Chief of Staff, General David L. Goldfein, recently said,

“People are the foundation of our Air Force. Our mutual support for each other is based on dignity, respect, and trust… a Wingman culture. As Wingmen we must continuously demonstrate courage and strength of character to do and say the right things, at the right times, to protect each other…there is no other acceptable option. These values apply to behavior on social media. Any conduct or participation in activities, whether online or offline, that does not adhere to these core values is NOT acceptable. We must continuously conduct ourselves in a manner that brings credit to our nation and each other. Service in our Air Force is a higher calling and we carry this legacy forward for future generations of Airmen.”

General Goldfein’s words tie perfectly into the Cyber Wingman concept in how we conduct ourselves online and how we protect our family and coworkers online. One thing we have to be careful about is the information we choose to share with others. It is so easy for individuals to piece together our Air Force mission even if we are only sharing small details through photos or comments on our personal social media sites. It is important to educate family members and friends about what they post on social media as well.

As a cyber wingman, hold yourself accountable for the things you share online. Refrain from entering locations and job description details on your profiles. Also, be mindful of the things you post that could potentially harm you or your wingman’s career or personal life. Be careful of the political matters you speak on across social media. Disrespectful behavior towards others is not acceptable and could be labeled as cyber bullying. Remember, someone is always reading what you share and once you share, it’s very difficult to retract information or comments. These are just a few simple steps you can take to be a great Cyber Wingman.

As Airmen, we are held to the highest standard both online and in person.