Now's time to reinvigorate awareness of safety issues

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Mike Gould
  • Second Air Force commander
Please accept my thanks for another tremendous fiscal year in executing the 2nd Air Force mission of "Producing the best-trained, combat-ready Airmen." 

Your extraordinary efforts resulted in the production of more than 119,000 technical training graduates and 29,000 new Airmen from basic military training. The technical training pipeline continues to surge despite manning challenges and a current deployment of 995 Airmen from 2nd Air Force. 

We accomplish the mission with a keen focus on safety and risk management, but trends indicate now is the time to reinvigorate our safety awareness. 

We experienced one vehicle mishap fatality in 2nd Air Force during the "101 Critical Days of Summer" campaign. Across our Air Force, we lost a total of 19 members during the campaign after losing 18 members during the summer 2006 campaign. For the fiscal year, we experienced seven mishap fatalities -- six vehicular -- in 2nd Air Force and lost an additional three Airmen who committed suicide. Overall in our Air Force, we experienced 70 on and off-duty mishap fatalities -- 49 vehicular -- closely matching an average of 68 fatalities over the last 10 years. 

I know that's a lot of data to process, but it simply shows that despite a lot of great effort from unit leaders, we're still experiencing too many preventable mishaps. 

I ask 2nd Air Force leaders at all levels to take advantage of the upcoming Wingman Day to brainstorm innovative risk management, mishap prevention and wingman culture ideas that reach our Airmen, both young and old. 

As we debrief these tragic mishaps, the common triggers continue to include alcohol abuse and lack of a wingman plan. As we strive to achieve the goal of zero mishaps, it requires the recognition of every Airman that each of us is a valuable resource and in every circumstance, there must always be "Airmen taking care of Airmen." 

Finally, please openly discuss the many holiday season stresses on our people. Alcohol use, relationship problems and financial distress cause enormous stress on our Airmen, and the holidays often aggravate the given situation. Know and care for your Airmen and Air Force civilians, and aggressively provide the support they need as the warning signs become known. Let's establish the goal of zero vehicle mishap fatalities and zero suicides from Wingman Day through the end of the fiscal year. 

Thanks for all you do and I look forward to seeing each and every one of you continue to do great things for our Air Force and nation for many years to come.