Team 14 gets its WINGs Published Oct. 24, 2023 By Tech. Sgt. Javier Cruz 14th Flying Training Wing COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Cooling temperatures and the smell of coffee filled the air when a small group of female Airmen gathered outside the base library, but this was no book club, these Airmen came to build their WINGs. The 14th Flying Training Wing will soon be home to the newest chapter of Women Inspiring the Next Generations (WINGs), a chartered organization with the mission to focus on professional development and personal growth for young officers and enlisted Airmen. According to the organization charter, the purpose of the private organization is to unite for the mutual benefit of all persons concerned with promoting mentorship, social, cultural, and recreational activities among members of WINGs, Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian personnel assigned to military installations across the Air Force. The group is open to male Airmen and is in the final stages of completing charter requirements for establishment. Organization elections will be held in the Spring of 2024. Master Sgt. Christan L Urquidi, 14th Medical Group, 14th Healthcare Operations Squadron (HCOS) Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL), described the purpose of the program. “This is an organization who solely wants to provide additional opportunities for women (and men) to provide mentorship, insight, and networking.” The WINGS concept was first adopted internally within the 14th Medical Group and has since grown to become available to all personnel of Columbus Air Force Base. “We want to bring an outlet to women of the military to be able to feel like they have a place they belong,” said Urquidi. “We want to be able to advocate for women and the obstacles they may face in a male dominated career or workforce.” The September meeting featured speakers from the 14th Medical Group, Mental Health clinic and Family Advocacy. The group discussed suicide prevention resources and how to promote healthy families to strengthen the 14 FTW team and upcoming base events. The WINGs organization offers a unique resource of mentors able to relate directly to the female military experience from a distinct perspective. “I’m looking for an overall outlook on the different resources as a woman that we all have and the support that this base provides,” said Airman First Class Karina Moore, 14th Medical Group, medical technician. “I would like to get out and meet new people and try new things,” said Airman First Class Holly Howerton, 14th Medical Group, Family Health Clinic, family health technician. “I’m not back at home and I’m in a completely different area all by myself so I’m just trying to network and get out there.” Male Airmen are encouraged to join the organization to gain insight into the issues their female Wingmen encounter and to learn how to break down those barriers. “It is imperative that leaders transcend gender boundaries and prioritize learning about the unique challenges our Airmen face,” said Captain Maxwell J. Laguna, 14th Security Forces Squadron force protection action officer. “When we have a better understanding of our Airmen, we will be a more unified, resilient and ready Air Force. WINGs allow for direct insight into the challenges that women at Columbus AFB face, giving a perspective that will help guide my leadership philosophy in the future.” “If you are looking for a welcoming organization to learn new things, meet new people, receive mentorship, have fun, and help make this big Air Force feel a little smaller, we hope you join WINGS,” said Urquidi.