• Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
  • Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command
As you look back at "how I spent my summer vacation," I'm sure there are lots of stories to tell. We had Airmen and Air Force civilians traveling coast-to-coast and overseas spending time with family and friends.

Along the way, you enjoyed traditional summer activities like boating, tubing, water skiing, swimming, camping, hiking and biking. You balanced safety and recreation and made Air Education and Training Command's summer safety campaign -- "Operation Summer Survivor - Zero in on Safety" -- a success by employing risk management in all your activities and being good wingmen.

That said, AETC lost two Airmen this summer. That's two too many.

Air Force-wide, we lost 19 Airmen during the 101 Critical Days of Summer. Eight were killed driving their automobiles; seven lost their lives on motorcycles. The remaining four deaths resulted from off-duty sports and recreation activities: two drownings; a dirt bike mishap; and an all-terrain vehicle crash.

Unfortunately, we continue to prove that driving too fast for the road and weather conditions, poor decisions, and unfortunate errors can result in fatal consequences. These losses remind us that we must remain vigilant and focused in our efforts to stay safe.

While the summer months are known as a high-risk period, it's not the only time we lose Airmen. For fiscal 2007, AETC has seen 11 Airmen die in preventable mishaps: five in automobiles, four on motorcycles, one in an industrial accident, and one who mishandled a firearm.

Although Labor Day traditionally marks the end of AETC's "Operation Summer Survivor - Zero in on Safety" campaign, I urge you to continue the safety mindset. Bottom line ... we need to remain good wingmen. We simply can't afford to lose another member of this great AETC family.