WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy issued the following message to all Air Force personnel:
As our Nation pays tribute to American workers during Labor Day weekend, we thank all Airmen for your dedicated service and hard work every day of the year. While many of you enjoy a well-earned break to celebrate the last holiday of the summer season, we urge you to plan your activities with care and to make smart decisions that will keep you, your family, and your friends safe.
Safety is a concern for all of us. Sadly, more than 40 Airmen have died in off-duty mishaps this year, including 27 Airmen killed in motor vehicle accidents. Many of these tragic losses may have been preventable, the result of reckless behavior such as excessive speed, irresponsible alcohol use, failure to use proper safety gear, or inattention. Equally alarming, our Air Force family has lost 70 Airmen to suicide this year.
Our goal is to eliminate all preventable mishaps, and you can help by setting a standard of zero tolerance for reckless behavior and through awareness of subtle behavioral changes that could indicate heightened levels of stress in yourself or others. Because one lost life is too many, we urge all Airmen to look out for one another and remember that safety requires deliberate forethought.
Your family, friends, and fellow Airmen depend on you. Please take time to consider safety as you enjoy Labor Day weekend, and as always, thank you for all you do for our Air Force and our Nation.