• Published
  • By Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr.
  • AETC commander
Over the years our AETC family has made it only one summer ­-- 2010 -- without a fatality. We must do everything in our power to make the summer of 2010 the norm and not the aberration.

Unfortunately, Air Force safety statistics confirm the Critical Days of Summer, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, shows an increase in mishaps, especially in off-duty activities. Add to this the increased stress from current budget crisis, furloughs and an uncertain future, and we can find ourselves even more at risk.

Last year alone we lost 17 Airmen across the Air Force and two Airmen in our command. The Airmen we lost in AETC were 21 and 24 years old, and both died riding motorcycles.

Even one loss is one too many.

Across the Air Force the leading cause of fatal mishaps during this period continues to be off-duty private motor vehicle mishaps, followed by water sports and drowning. Whether traveling at excessive speeds, driving while fatigued, failing to fasten seat belts, drinking and driving, or not using personal flotation devices, the sad news is that all of these mishaps were preventable.

While all Airmen have a commitment to the core values of integrity, service and excellence, Airmen must also have a commitment to their family, friends, co-workers and country to value safety with the same intensity that is held for our other core values. All Airmen are encouraged to discuss mishap prevention techniques in addition to the four pillars of wellness: social, spiritual, mental and physical.

Safety is critical to our total well-being.

Supervisors at all levels must engage their Airmen and ensure they understand their role in mitigating risk for themselves and their families. Additionally, continued education efforts should focus on creative ways to communicate the importance of safety for our Airmen.

Success in reducing preventable mishaps depends on strong leadership, effective training, looking out for each other, taking care of the four pillars of wellness, and maintaining our vigilance.

I challenge all of you to make 2013 the safest summer on record. We cannot afford to lose a single Airman.

Our ability to accomplish the mission depends on each of you. Be smart. Emphasize risk management. And, remember, Airmen take care of Airmen. Enjoy the summer months ahead, and be safe.