'101 Critical Days' Lessons – Wingman Day/Holiday Season Awareness

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Michael Gould
  • 2nd Air Force commander
Please accept my thanks for another tremendous fiscal year in executing the 2 AF mission of "Producing the best trained combat ready Airmen". Your extraordinary efforts resulted in the production of over 119,000 technical training 'schoolhouse' 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 2 AF. We accomplish the mission with a keen focus on safety and risk management but trends indicate that now is the time to reinvigorate our safety awareness. 

We experienced one vehicle mishap fatality in 2 AF 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 7 mishap fatalities (6 vehicular) in 2 AF and lost an additional 3 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 ten 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 are still experiencing too many preventable mishaps.
I ask 2 AF leaders at all levels to take advantage of the upcoming Wingman Day to brainstorm innovative risk management, mishap prevention, and wingman culture ideas that will 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 Air Force 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 FY. 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!