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The Buddy System

SALT LAKE CITY -- The recent deaths of our fellow Guardsmen serve as reminders of the importance of always looking out for our Wingman, and conversely, asking for help when needed.

Newell Lloyd writes, "most of the time we manage to get through each day without asking anyone for help. We want to be independent, and so it's hard to admit sometimes that there are circumstances when it's necessary to rely on others. But some things are just better done in pairs as the words of the scripture remind us: 'Two are better than one ... for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow'." (Eccl. 4:9-10)

As we enter the holiday season, it is more important than ever to look out for friends and co-workers who are having difficulties. I read once that a pair of beginning scuba divers was exploring an underwater cave when one of the divers accidentally lost his mouthpiece. Because he was inexperienced, he panicked and was not able to retrieve the mouthpiece. Desperate for air, he gave his partner a signal that let him know he was in trouble. His partner responded according to emergency procedures he learned in class. He gave away his own mouthpiece, then found his backup for himself. When they safely reached the surface, the two divers embraced and laughed like children. Were it not for what those scuba divers called the buddy system, the struggling diver might not have survived.

Although friends are rarely needed to protect us from peril in our everyday lives, we may need them to help us with ordinary difficulties. A good friend is willing to labor with us when a physical challenge is beyond our capacity. There are many jobs that are too much for one person. When our judgment is lacking on a particular issue, a wise friend can offer insightful suggestions. Friends can help us see our struggles objectively from a perspective we never thought of before. And just when it seems as though nobody in the world cares about us, a loyal friend may show up on our doorstep and prove otherwise.

"Two are better than one. Friends often have the ability to lift us up in ways we cannot do by ourselves. The buddy system is a lot more than just a good safeguard for scuba divers. It's a way of life." (Music and the Spoken Word, May 27, 2001).

Along with a caring Wingman, the chaplains in the Utah Air National Guard stand ready to help anyone who might be struggling with difficult challenges. We can lend a listening ear and have a genuine interest in each individual member of the ANG. Please contact us if we can be of assistance when your individual regulators happen to slip from your mouths. We are here for you 24/7.