AFSPC commander issues Labor Day message Published Aug. 27, 2014 By Gen. John Hyten Air Force Space Command commander PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- On Sept. 1, we will celebrate Labor Day to pay tribute those who have 'labored' to build and sustain this great and wonderful country. Our Nation's freedom, strength and success would be unattainable without the perseverance and determined efforts of great Americans like you. Labor Day is also traditionally associated with the end of summer and many of us take one last opportunity to enjoy the activities that make summer great. Unfortunately, many of those activities entail risk and can lead to tragedy. Historically, the Air Force loses at least one Airman during the Labor Day weekend. So far this summer we have lost 13 Airmen through a combination of private motor vehicle mishaps, to include motorcycles, sports-related mishaps, and two on-duty mishaps. Sadly, some of those losses involved misuse of alcohol. Closer to home, AFSPC lost one Airman due to a private motor vehicle mishap. Most of these regrettable losses are preventable. Somewhere along the line, members lose sight of the safety chain and risk management principles and incorrectly apply them, or disregard them all together. Leaders at all levels, I ask that you take the time to stress the importance to your Airmen to not drink and drive and to always have a plan. Additionally, stress the importance of personal protective gear, boating regulations and proper requirements for operating a motorcycle safely in today's traffic environment. Take the time to see what your Airmen do for fun and tailor your safety briefings accordingly. You will see 99.9 percent of our Airmen do it right every time but that .1 percent may need a little extra nudge. By maintaining focus and diligence, we can keep our Airmen safe and return refreshed and ready for the next challenge. On this long weekend of celebration, take time to reflect on your accomplishments and contributions to make this the greatest Nation on Earth. However keep in mind, we need everyone back doing what we do best: defending the freedom of all great Americans from pole to pole and from ground to space. It is a team effort and we need you, your country needs you and most importantly, your family needs you.