These photos of airmen playing a life-size "Hungry Hungry Hippos" game will surely deter our enemies

On May 12, airmen at Travis Air Force Base, like the rest of the USAF, participated in a series of “Wingman Day” exercises. Wingman Day is a long-running annual event where the Air Force attempts to remind airmen that the Air Force cares about its people. It’s also a day to remind airmen to take care of each other. The day is usually filled with team building events, training, and exercises designed to improve the mental, spiritual, social, and physical well-being of those in the U.S. Air Force. One such exercise at Travis this year was a full-scale version of the popular children’s game Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The photo caption indicates this game is designed to train airmen to help fellow airmen in distress, using the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. While we aren’t entirely sure how this game helps impress that model on airmen, we’re willing to give the planners of Travis’ Wingman Day the benefit of the doubt. We’re not experts.

Airmen launch into a life-size version of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” as part of a team building experience during Wingman Day activities May 12, 2016, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

Before everyone goes nuts with making fun of the Air Force, we at Team Mighty recognize that this game was probably not the airmen’s idea. And who is going to say “no” to the question of  “Who wants to play a life-size game of Hungry Hungry Hippos?”

Airmen prepare to launch into a life-size version of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” as part of a team building experience during Wingman Day activities, Travis AFB, CA, May 12, 2016. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

Also, this is not the first government agency to play a life-size game. The Department of Veterans Affairs (infamously) did it first. The game they played? Hungry Hungry Hippos.


Admit it: The Air Force did it better. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with goofy fun office games, even at work, even in the military. This isn’t even the most humiliating thing Air Force Public Affairs allowed to go on the internet. Remember that time Team Charleston posted photos of Joint Base Charleston airmen making things out of construction paper on Facebook, then immediately had to take it down because of the public backlash? They sure hope you don’t.

Airmen prepare to launch into a life-size version of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” as part of a team building experience during Wingman Day activities, Travis AFB, CA, May 12, 2016. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

Have fun, Air Force, just don’t post it on DVIDS. Saying it’s supposed to help airmen recognize others in distress may fly to get the commander’s approval but the media isn’t going to understand, especially when no one else is posting these things. Context is important – and all we see is airmen wearing helmets and carrying laundry baskets to catch plastic balls.

Master Sgt. Claude Winfree, quality assurance program manager for the 821st Contingency Response Group pushes Senior Master Sgt. Christy Peterson, 821st, standardization/evaluation supervisor, on a wooden four wheeled dolly toward the plastic balls she needs to capture to win a life size game of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” during a Wingman Day team building event, Travis AFB, May 12, 2016. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

 

Airmen prepare to launch into a life-size version of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” as part of a team building experience during Wingman Day activities, Travis AFB, CA, May 12, 2016. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

 

Airmen prepare to launch into a life-size version of “Hungry Hungry Hippos” as part of a team building experience during Wingman Day activities, Travis AFB, CA, May 12, 2016. The Wingman Day program provides training, and hands on participation exercises for Airmen and frontline supervisors to enhance their ability to recognize and effectively intervene with other Airmen in distress, utilizing the PRESS (Prepare, Recognize, Engage, Send, and Sustain) model. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch/Released)

In all honesty, who isn’t wondering if they have the required space and/or equipment to do this at work?

If you have any video of these games, email it to info@wearethemighty.com.

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