UNDISCLOSED LOCATION --
I got your six.” It’s a phrase that has been around for more than a hundred years. First coined by American fighter pilots during World War I, “I got your six” used analog-clock positioning to determine location; 12 o’clock meant straight ahead, and 6 o’clock meant directly behind.
In a dogfight, enemy combatants would fly behind a plane in an attempt to shoot down the aircraft. Your trusted wingman, however, would have “your six.” He had your back.
It’s a phrase that is still used throughout the military to this day.
“With the holiday season approaching, we wanted to illustrate, in a physical way, the impact daily stressors have on our deployed Airmen,” said Capt. Adrian McPherson, Sexual Assault and Prevention Response coordinator, 332d Air Expeditionary Wing. “We wanted to let them know that even with all of these stressors, we’ve got their backs.”
McPherson and the SAPR team connected with the base Helping Agency Team to create a physical and mental obstacle course to showcase challenges facing Airmen and how the various teams can help.
The challenge involved Airmen carrying 5-gallon buckets through a series of stressors represented by water bottles. As Airmen meet each “challenge” a team member added water bottles to the buckets, increasing the weight as they went further down the line. Once Airmen reached the end of the gauntlet they would turn back to navigate the course again, this time met by members of the helping agencies who would, in turn, remove the water bottle stressors.
“It was good to be able to put how you feel in a tangible, physical form,” said Capt. Britta Gjermo, Weather Flight Commander, 332d Expeditionary Support Squadron. “People can do a really good job of ‘conceal-don’t-feel’ in terms of mental health stressors. This was a really good opportunity to look at stress in a different way.”
McPherson said that there were close to 100 participants and nearly 30 volunteers from HAT agencies including: SAPR, Mental Health, Chaplain Corps., Physical Therapy, First Sergeants Council, Legal Office, the Inspector General’s office, Equal Opportunity, and the base peer-to-peer mentorship group — Red Tail Shield.