by Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
9/16/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Being
a good wingman may not always be an easy task. Sometimes, it requires
people to go above and beyond what is normally asked of them. For Senior
Airman Thaddeus Johnson, 341st Force Support Squadron customer support
apprentice, a quick response and the will to go the extra mile in order
to help a fellow Airman was exactly what was required of him, and he
rose to the challenge.
Midway through a seemingly normal workday, Johnson met with an Airman
during a routine appointment to help him take care of some paperwork. It
was during this appointment that Johnson noticed the Malmstrom team
member display signs of serious stress.
"During our appointment, this Airman had made some comments where I knew
he was in need of help," Johnson said. "It was easy to see something
was wrong. As I spent more time with him, I knew whatever was troubling
him was severe and that he needed a helping hand.
"I had never expected to be put in a situation like this but I am
thankful to have been in the right place at the right time," he
After finishing his appointment with the Team Malmstrom member, Johnson
exchanged numbers and let the Airman know that he was there to help,
that he was not alone in whatever was troubling him.
A short while later, after speaking with leadership on what to do with
the situation, Johnson contacted the team member, found where he was and
put his work on hold to stay with him until proper care could be
"Being a wingman means that you're there for your fellow Airmen," said
Johnson. "On duty, off duty, no matter what; it means to be there when
"I feel confident knowing that I have someone there who is going to keep
me on the right path," he continued. "I know that I have someone there
who is going to do the same thing for me that I would do for them. In
this case, an Airman came in who needed assistance and I just offered
him the help that would have been given to me by my wingmen."
According to Johnson, we all fall and have our own respective issues
that we deal with on a daily basis but it is the way that we handle them
and get back up that makes the person.
Offering the help he did was not an extraordinary act, he believes, but
just the observance of a fellow Airman in need and the will to act on
"You can always get back up from where you've fallen from," Johnson
said. "I've been down before, we all have. It's not how you start, it's
how you finish. To establish our core values - Integrity first, Service
before self and Excellence in all we do - we need each other."