Tropical Storm Fay and 101 Critical Days
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander
/ Published August 28, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Thank you! You have all proven to me - once again - that all the training, hard work and exercises we do to prepare for Mother Nature's fury are well worth the effort.
From the very beginning, when we got the first forecast of where Tropical Storm Fay could be headed, you all pulled together, made the plans, took precautions, got the word out and kept everyone safe, which is priority Number 1 to me. And always will be.
So when Fay decided to hit the Space Coast - and then decided to just sit here for a few days - I was comforted because everyone seemed to do everything perfectly, even when we had to deal with a storm that was acting like a house guest who doesn't know when it's time to go home.
Working together with state and local officials, you proved once again what I have been saying all along - there's nothing we can't accomplish - and overcome - when we all work together.
I have been equally impressed with how well you have worked together in the clean-up efforts from a blizzard of rain.
As we can see with the latest hurricane, Gustav, we still have months to go in this hurricane season. Still, it eases my concerns when I see the way you act - and react.
We have one more "storm" to weather, and that is Labor Day weekend, which marks the end of our 101 Critical Days of Summer.
I would like to end the 101 Critical Days of Summer how we started it, which is zero serious injuries to any of our people here at Patrick or at the Cape.
As your commander, I must tell you, that is a great achievement and it makes me very proud. But that doesn't mean I still don't worry.
One thing in particular to focus on is motorcycle safety. According to the folks in our super Safety Office, more than 50 Airmen have died while riding motorcycles since 2006. We have lost four Airmen due to these bike accidents just this summer. So, once again, I ask that you wear the proper apparel, be properly trained and never, ever drink and drive.
Even though we only have a couple days left in the 101 Critical Days of Summer, all Airmen should know the inherent dangers that irresponsible biking can bring about. But, apparently not everyone is getting the word. Just last week, seven active duty Airmen and three Sailors were arrested and jailed on charges of speeding and reckless endangerment outside Bay Minette, Ala., when they were clocked at speeds of over 140 miles per hour on Interstate 10.
What were these service members thinking? The answer seems obvious: they weren't.
So I ask you once again to never lose focus, take care of one another and keep being a good Wingman. Have a great Family Day and a Labor Day weekend. Go Sharks!