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Happy Independence Day: Keep up the good 'Safety Stats!'

(U.S. Air Force graphic/James Rainier)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/James Rainier)

Who are you going to call if you need help? Airmen Against Drunk Driving, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Mental Health Representative, Chaplain, Military family Life Counselor, Military Crisis Line, Military One Source, Airmen and Family Readiness Center and the Law Enforcement Desk. Save this number to your cell phone (321) 494-2273, for future use. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/James Rainier) (Released)

Who are you going to call if you need help? Airmen Against Drunk Driving, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Mental Health Representative, Chaplain, Military family Life Counselor, Military Crisis Line, Military One Source, Airmen and Family Readiness Center and the Law Enforcement Desk. Save this number to your cell phone (321) 494-2273, for future use. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/James Rainier) (Released)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Greetings to all members of Team Patrick-Cape,

In just a few days, millions of Americans will pause to celebrate America's 239th Birthday!

It is a time - hopefully - for us to look back, reflect and thank all those who paved the way for all of us to enjoy living in a country filled with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Unfortunately, one of the happiest and most-time honored holidays our nation celebrates can end in tragedy in just the blink of an eye.

The most obvious reason is drinking and driving. Privately owned vehicle accidents due to drinking, fatigue, excessive speed, and failure to wear seatbelts continue to be the greatest threat to our Air Force Wingmen and sister branch military members.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the July 4th holiday period over the last five years (from 2009 to 2013), 750 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a BAC of .08 or more.

These fatalities account for 39 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over this same five-year period. Numbers don't lie.

According to our award-winning Safety Office, the Air Force has had 63 mishaps resulting in lost work days during the July 4 weekend over the last two years.

How'd we do here at Team Patrick-Cape? I'm so glad you asked.

Over the same two year July 4 time period, The 45th Space Wing has had a grand total of ZERO mishaps over the same time frame.

That's right ... ZERO!

Team, I know for a fact that I speak for every leader on the base, when I say how unbelievably proud we are to have a workforce here who really gets it, and one that understands that safety is no accident.

So throughout this long, four-day holiday weekend, we ask that all leaders and individuals do their part to prevent accidents, and I will be directing  every supervisor - at every level --to get involved with their people and drive home that SAFETY FIRST mentality.

I'll close with this sobering thought: If you need a ride, call Patrick Air Force Base Airmen Against Drunk Driving at (321) 494-7433(RIDE).

Please don't let one poor decision ruin your holiday celebration and Air Force, military, or civilian career.

Eddie and I send our very best wishes for a Happy Independence Day to each and every one of you.

Stay Focused, Sharks. And stay SAFE!