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From the Top: Step Up and Be the 'Safety' Example

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- At press time we are once again preparing for another Radiation Belt Storms Probes (RBSP) launch attempt. It is currently scheduled to launch Aug. 30 from an Atlas V rocket between 0405 and 0425 local if everything goes as planned. I'm looking forward to leading my first launch as the Launch Decision Authority on the Eastern Range.

After the launch, this weekend will mark the official end of the Critical Days of Summer, and we all know there is no such thing as an off-season when it comes to SAFETY.

According to Wing Safety, we have had zero fatalities with 23 no loss time injuries this summer, compared to one fatality and 36 injuries with no lost time last year.

While we've done well at the 45th Space Wing, the Air Force as a whole has not. There have been 40 off-duty deaths including 27 Airman killed in motor vehicle accidents this year. Many of these accidents were reckless and the result of excessive speeding, alcohol, not using proper safety gear or not paying attention. All completely avoidable.

One accident or life lost is too many, and it's our duty as Wingman, from Airman Basic to General, to set the example for those around us to follow. As Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, the Air Force Chief of Safety put it, "Reckless behavior off-duty remains our greatest threat. Be a great wingman... and one who sets the example for safety both on- and off-duty!"

So whether you're hanging out with your fellow Airmen this weekend or people that aren't associated with the military; set the standard of zero tolerance and keep your eye out for reckless and dangerous behavior. Anticipate things that can go wrong and act preemptively.

And like General Feest said, "setting the example may be the best thing any of us can do." So I challenge you - every Airman in the Wing and throughout our tenant organizations - to stand up and take the lead when it comes to safety.

And that's because safety never takes a holiday, and danger never takes a vacation. Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend whether you're amongst family, friends or fellow Airmen.

Thanks for all you do, Sharks!