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From the Top: Watching TS Debby; Safely Celebrating the 4th of July!

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- Once again, this column is going to print just before we launch the United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV Heavy rocket, scheduled to launch June 28th from Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite. However, as I type, I'm looking at blowing wind,
thick clouds and rain showers that threaten our launch opportunity. Tropical Storm Debby is wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast and as I type, the National Weather Service
is still having difficultly modeling her path. Either way, I hope everyone has taken the proper precautions as we deal with the potential flooding with the anticipated rain amounts.

As always, we will put safety and mission assurance at the top of our "to-do" list, but we also continue to be proud about being able to complete two NRO launches a week apart from the Cape.

This just shows even more the quality of the entire team we have put together here on the Space Coast. It's our honor to continue to serve our Nation with excellence in all we do.

Speaking of our Nation, next Wednesday many of us will be celebrating our country's 236th birthday with a wide variety of July 4th activities.

However you choose to celebrate the 4th, I just ask that you do so safely.

There are lots of ways to have fun and celebrate without subjecting yourself and your family to serious injuries - or possibly worse.

The most obvious one is don't drink and drive. If you are going to attend an event where alcohol is being served, have a plan BEFORE you leave and stick with it.

There are countless stories - all very sad - where our Airmen have said "I thought I was sober enough to drive."

They thought wrong.

Fireworks can be another source of summertime danger. In 2010, nearly 9,000
fireworks-related injuries were treated in US hospital emergency rooms. Most of
these injuries happened to children 15 and under.

In addition, in that same year, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by the use of fireworks. These numbers are incredibly high, yet people still insist on using fireworks.

Want to ensure you and your family's safety when it comes to this?

The best way is not to use any fireworks at home - period. Attend a public fireworks display if you choose and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Lastly, let's give some thought to the 75-plus Airmen we currently have deployed downrange. Be the type of wingman who invites the ones left behind to a 4th of July get-together. And be the wingman who ensures everyone stays safe.

Keep pushing, Sharks!