• Published
  • AETC Director of Safety
With the July 2 Air Education and Training Command change of command ceremony, we said good-bye to Gen. William R. Looney III, who retired Aug. 1, and welcomed our new commander, Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz. 

During General Looney's three-year tenure, we made some nice strides in regard to the safety and well-being of our service members. Compared with the three years prior to his tour at the helm of AETC, the command saw motorcycle mishaps go down 9 percent, military lost duty days to mishap injuries decrease by 2 percent and ground fatalities plummet by 15 percent. Fiscal 2006, General Looney's first year in command, was the best year in the history of Air Force flight safety, as well as one of the safest in AETC. 

We look forward to building on those positive trends with General Lorenz. 

Leadership and teamwork are a major focus of our new boss, so much so that in the summer of 2005, while stationed at the Pentagon, he published an article in Air and Space Power Journal titled "Lorenz on Leadership." Thousands benefited from the 13 principles included in this article as well as subsequent ideas he proffered later as the commander of Air University. 

He said in a recent AETC News Service article, "All great endeavors are done by teams. And these teams have to have leaders. Everyone, from a slick-sleeve Airman to a four-star general, is going to lead something, even if it's only by the example they set." 

This is especially true when it comes to safety and risk management. In fact, everyone has an opportunity to lead when it comes to developing a strong safety culture with sound risk management practices. 

How? Well, actually, it's quite simple. Leaders influence others. 

Leaders set the example by buckling up every time they get in a vehicle, and remind others to do the same. Leaders never drink and drive. Leaders get plenty of rest before taking long road trips or flying. Leaders maintain flight discipline and train hard to overcome any aviation adversity they may face. Leaders make good, well-thought-out decisions. 

Leaders are also easy to identify. They're the ones wearing helmets while riding motorcycles or bicycles; they're wearing safety goggles while playing racquetball or operating dangerous tools; when driving, they follow at a safe distance and control their temper. Interestingly, others around them tend to imitate their actions. 

Leaders learn from their mistakes, as well as from the mistakes of others. And most of all, leaders persevere and continue to seek out ways to improve and evolve. 

"General Looney left this command in great shape," General Lorenz said in his news service interview, "and we intend to build on the things he's done and keep moving the ball farther down the field."