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NEWS | May 6, 2014

What would you do?

By Chief Master Sgt. Mark Bronson 628th Air Base Wing command chief

There is a popular TV show that uses hidden cameras and actors to test what people would do if put in a situation where they observed people making bad choices or treating people inappropriately. As I watch the show, it seems obvious what action those passing by should take but, quite often that response is not what happens ... those passing by do not engage, they fail to take action. While some do intervene, many times I am shocked as person after person passes by and doesn't want to get involved even when their inaction could lead to someone getting hurt or mistreated.

As I watched that show it made me reflect on the many reports and briefings I have sat through over the years covering the hours leading up to an Airman or Sailor getting injured, mistreated or unfortunately we have lost. In many cases there was a person, or persons, that could have taken action and didn't. Unfortunately, their inaction not only did not stop the destructive behavior it led to an assault, arrest, injury or even worse, a lost life.

That's a big part of what being a Wingman is about, being willing to step up and take action to protect your fellow service member from making poor choices or harming themselves or others. Stepping up even when doing so could cause that person to get angry with you and maybe even lose them as a friend. Being a Wingman is not covering up dangerous behavior, it is calling your Wingman out on that behavior and elevating that information if needed, before it causes harm to them or others. Not only is that morally the right thing to do, but what we took an oath to do so as members of the armed forces.
We have an obligation to intervene and in some cases we have a duty to take action.
If your brother or sister was engaged in destructive behavior or doing something to harm themselves or others, you would step up and intervene. The same holds true for our "brothers" and "sisters" in arms. That means there is really no choice but to take action.

Can you reflect on a time when you were faced with a real life scenario where your action or inaction could have had grave consequences? Did you step up and take action to prevent a negative outcome or did you keep quiet and get lucky when nothing happened? Can you look back at each scenario and say you acted when you knew you should? Did you speak up or intervene and take action every time?

This brotherhood and call to action is what separates us from any another other corporation in the world and is also what makes us the greatest military force in the world. We stand ready to defeat any enemy that threatens our nation, loved ones and freedom and we do it better than any one!

To remain that dominant force we must also focus our attention on destructive behaviors that hinder our ability to win those wars. We must win the war on sexual assaults, destructive behaviors and suicide. That victory comes from all of us doing our part. Each and every one of us plays a role in eliminating these destructive behaviors. It is all our responsibility to take action when in a situation where our teammate is making bad choices. So the next time you are in that situation and the "cameras" of life are rolling ... what will you do?