AF leaders give 101 Critical Days of Summer message

  • Published
  • By Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Michael W. Wynne
  • Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force
We will soon enter the 101 Critical Days of Summer, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During this period, we are involved in summer activities potentially exposing us to increased risk. Unfortunately, Air Force safety statistics show this time of increased risk results in more mishaps, especially in off-duty activities. Last year alone we tragically lost 19 Airmen during this 101-day period.

The leading cause of fatal mishaps during the 101 Critical Days of Summer 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 seatbelts, drinking then driving, or not using personal flotation devices, the sad news is that all of these mishaps were preventable.

We must ensure Airmen at all levels understand the importance of smart personal risk management and being good wingmen. These 101 Critical Days of Summer present an excellent opportunity for us to personally do our part to drastically reduce this trend of mishaps. 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 younger personnel. Success in reducing preventable mishaps depends on strong leadership, effective training, looking out for each other, and maintaining our Warfighter Edge at all times.

To help ensure success, Air Force Safety can provide key support tools for commanders from the MAJCOM to Squadron levels. These tools include analytical surveys, historical trends and support at the local installation level. The goal is to target Airmen in high risk categories, and we expect our directors and commanders to take the lead in this effort.

We challenge the men and women of the world's greatest Air Force to make 2008 the safest summer on record. We cannot afford to lose a single Airman. Our ability to accomplish the mission depends upon each of you. Be smart, emphasize risk management, and remember Airmen take care of Airmen. Enjoy the summer months ahead and be safe!