• Published
  • By Gen. William R. Looney III
  • AETC Commander
As we head into the "101 Critical Days of Summer" and the temperature starts to increase, history suggests that mishaps and fatalities will too! The summer season is traditionally the highest risk period during the year for accidents to occur; however, instead of just accepting an ugly fate, we can take our wingman responsibilities seriously and do something about it.

Unfortunately, the Air Force lost 19 Airmen (two from Air Education and Training Command) during this same period last year, one more than the previous year. Once again, the roadways proved to be the main site of fatalities. Eight of our team members died in automobiles, while seven more lost their lives on motorcycles. The remaining four deaths resulted from off-duty sports and recreation activities, including two drownings, a dirt bike mishap and an all-terrain vehicle crash.

Already this year we continue to see tragedies that are preventable. Private motor vehicle mishaps are increasing, and alcohol use and unsafe driving practices are just two of the factors responsible.

So, what can we do about it?

AETC's "Operation Safe Summer -- Campaign for Safety!" runs from May 23 (the Friday before Memorial Day) through Sept. 2 (the Tuesday after Labor Day). In order to make this campaign successful, everyone needs to use personal risk management during all activities as well as be good wingmen by taking care of those around us. I'm confident we as a command will do our very best to protect our most valuable resource ... each other.

Taking care of our own -- our wingmen -- on- and off-duty is everyone's responsibility. Through strong leadership, proper guidance and personal responsibility, we can all have a safe, enjoyable summer.