101 Critical Days of Summer: A time to live!

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The "101 Critical Days of Summer" clock is about to start ticking, and for those of us here on the Emerald Coast, the reality is: little will change.

Summertime offers more opportunities for risky activities, and this year is no different. There is always the need for leaders, supervisors and wingmen to continue to promote mishap prevention and to help keep our Airmen safe. 

Team Hurlburt has already lost two Airmen in preventable traffic-related mishaps in just the past few months. With summer travel plans taking shape and tourists flocking to our beaches, we know our exposure to risk will only increase in the weeks ahead.

For those who wonder why summer is such a critical time, try this approach.
If someone asked, "What's one thing you want to do before the end of summer?" How would you respond? Think about it for a second.

Your answer could range from: travel to see family and friends, go to the beach, play golf, hike, swim, go whitewater rafting, go jet skiing, ride a bike or any number of things.

In reality, the activities we participate in today are almost limitless, and each one involves some degree of risk, but I wonder if you would answer, "I want to live."

Sound strange? Maybe a little, but think about it-it encompasses everything you'll do this summer. It's about living through the summer with fond memories of family, friends and good times. This is much preferred to stories of scars, ambulance rides, hospital beds, or funeral homes.

Unfortunately, we know there is a good chance summer will bring injuries and some will be serious. We hope not, but hoping is not enough to prevent a mishap.

Last summer marked the first time in three years the 1st Special Operations Wing didn't experience a fatality during the summer--this was a great achievement. But even with our success, a number of Airmen across the Air Force lost their lives in preventable mishaps; their families and friends didn't enjoy last summer as we did.

This is where safety plays a part. We must look beyond that first glance to better recognize risk and plan summer events accordingly. Remain alert to hazards and focus on the task at hand.

When with fellow Airmen, be a good wingman. It takes courage, but when the opportunity comes up, a wingman won't hesitate to take action above and beyond what is normally expected to keep someone else safe-even though it might seem unpopular at the time.

We are all familiar with the saying "work hard, play hard." And as we gear up for the summer, I want to thank everyone for the hard work they do every day. There is nothing wrong with playing hard either, as long as it's not an excuse for taking foolish risks.

In other words: don't do something dumb.

The 101 Critical Days of Summer is an opportunity to travel, enjoy time off, relax and have fun, but one of the best things you can do this summer is stay alive!