Value Your Service, Value Your Life

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
As we approach this holiday 3-day weekend, there's a lot I could write about. Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, or the kickoff of our annual 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign. When you think about each of these events, there is a common theme that runs through--the high value we place on lives devoted to service to our nation. Whether it's remembering our fallen heroes, honoring our current active duty military members, or simply safeguarding the lives of all who serve, we should reflect upon the high value we place on lives given to service.

I would like to believe that our constant emphasis on safety here at Sheppard validates the high value we place on the lives of our uniformed and civilian Airmen and their families. That being said, we're on the cusp of one of the Air Force's highest mishap timeframes...known as the "101 Critical Days of Summer." Our great Air Force lost far too many valuable Airmen (19) during last year's safety campaign due to deficiencies in judgment and risk management. Although Team Sheppard did not contribute to those numbers during that timeframe, many of you will remember that we lost a young NCO to a motor vehicle accident just after last year's campaign ended.

Starting with the upcoming Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day in September, I need your extra focus on the largest casualty area -- motor vehicle mishaps! Ask yourself these simple questions: Do you always wear your seatbelt and make sure others do the same? Do you ever exceed the posted speed limit? Do you drive when fatigued? Do you drive after drinking? Do you realize one poor decision could make you an "unguided missile" heading for an innocent target? Motorcyclists, do you take every precaution concerning safe riding and mentor younger riders to do the same? Think hard about these questions. Take a moment to envision the consequences to your family and friends of a bad choice.

I need each commander and supervisor to ensure that every person under their span of oversight receives this message loud and clear. Every member of the 82 TRW is to stand down for 2 hours of meaningful safety­related discussions and briefings before the weekend begins. I'd ask that each commander report the date/time these happened within their unit to the Safety Office by sending an e-mail with this information to: by COB on Tuesday, 27 May 2008.

Numbers are not just numbers...they are lives -- our spouses, co-workers, friends, and fellow Airmen. We owe it to one another to "step it up" this summer season. Let's each of us do what we can to ensure our summer is launched with safety as the primary consideration!