Remember who we're fighting for

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
I'm writing my article this week away from Sheppard, on temporary duty to another Air Force base. I'm TDY, because I have been named the president of an Accident Investigation Board, which will be investigating the recent fatality of an Air Force member. 

Accident investigations are an important part of our Air Force culture. Anytime an on-duty fatality occurs involving one of our people the Air Force conducts an extensive series of investigations to find out exactly what happened and why. A Safety Investigation Board is normally convened to gather information, conduct analysis and make recommendations that will prevent similar mishaps in the future. 

Following the SIB, an Accident Investigation Board is conducted to further investigate the accident, develop an opinion as to the cause and contributing factors, and produce a publicly-releasable report. For duty-related accidents, the Air Force normally appoints a general officer to lead each investigation, each of which requires at least 30 days of non-stop investigative work. In my view, the thoroughness of this accident investigative process is the ultimate and final way the Air Force takes care of its people.

Once my AIB starts its work, I'll be away from Sheppard for about 30 days. Col. Kris Beasley, 82nd Training Wing vice commander, will be the acting commander of the 82nd TRW during this time.

My preliminary work on this AIB has reminded me of two important lessons that are worth repeating. First, many uniformed military members, both home and deployed, literally put their lives on the line every day serving and defending their country. Second, none of us know the time or the place that our lives will end--every day we're here on this Earth is a gift. Despite this, few of us take the time to tell our loved ones often enough how much we love and appreciate them . . . and it can't be done too much.

Be sure you take the time every day to tell your family how much you appreciate and value them. After all, it's our families, and the families of all Americans, that we fight for. These are the people we serve. As many of you spend time with your families this Easter weekend, remember who we're defending, who we serve. And tell them.

And of course, be safe this weekend--your families need you to!