Commentary

May 30, 2014

Advice to Airmen from your Desert Diamonds: 101 Critical Days of Summer

Master Sgt. Eric Jackson
412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Edwards First Sergeants Council

It is your Airman…Big “A”

As leaders, we need to take responsibility for everything that happens or fails to happen in our organization; set the tone.

Let your personnel know that risk management is needed not just on the job, but in each of our everyday lives, especially during summer when many of us participate in high risk activities and consume alcohol.

A good Air Force leader will take the time to ensure their subordinates have a good plan and ALWAYS plan for the unexpected. It’s each Airman’s responsibility to do the right thing, have integrity, not just on the job, but 24/7, 365 days a year. I know it’s unrealistic to think that every one of us will comply, but that still shouldn’t deter you from doing your part. It’s your responsibility as a leader and wingman.

Time management

Every second of your summer will be filled with something to do, whether it’s with the family, an individual hobby, barbecuing, or taking the motorcycle or boat out.

You’ll be faced with tough decisions, we must make the right one every single time.

Additionally, we still have the demands of our professional lives that we must keep up. It’s a given that you’ll end up working late and sacrificing family and personal recreational time.

One technique to attempt to stay on track is to create a task listing and prioritize your time to stay on track with time sensitive tasks. Does this always work, of course not, but it will at least attempt to keep you on track and focused.

Things will always come up that divert you and require your undivided attention. Don’t ever compromise safety for the sake of getting the job done quickly and putting yourself or others at risk, it’s not worth it. ALWAYS utilize operational and personal risk management and do things the right way. EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Also, don’t try to rush home to get to a party or family gathering or to hit the road early and get a head start on your vacation. Plan ahead, get to your destination safely, that’s half the battle.

Outdoor activity

The summer brings with it an increased risk of tragic accidents due to an increase of outdoor activities.

Traditionally, people are more active during this time of year because we participate in outdoor recreational activities and sports.

Also, it’s important that those of us who operate privately owned vehicles and motorcycles do so safely and responsibly. It only takes one poor irresponsible choice to possibly end lives.

Motorcycle accidents among service members seem to increase during the summer months after not riding their bike as frequently in the winter months.

Give yourself an adjustment period and inspect your bike to ensure it’s 100-percent safe to operate and you have the appropriate safety gear. Most importantly, never operate a motorcycle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol, it’s illegal and impairs your ability to operate a motorcycle, boat, waverunner, or any vehicle safely.

If you’ve had alcohol, implement your plan, call AADD, your supervisor, taxi, but most importantly, never get behind the wheel of any vehicle, it’s just not worth it and it’s not part of being a responsible airman who makes smart choices.

Individual responsibility

As professional Airmen, it’s our responsibility to do the right thing.

As the summer heats up, we’ll be more and more outdoors, which increases our risk of injury or death.

Even if we do everything right, things can still go wrong. I ask each of you to check your SGLI and update your DD Form 93 – Emergency Data Card. Each of us should be prepared for the unexpected.

As a first sergeant, we see too many times what truly happens when we as service members don’t keep our SGLI up to date. It’s critical that your SGLI reflects who you want as your beneficiary, identifying next of kin, as well as who will be responsible for your remains.

Your DD Form 93 and SGLI facilitates notifying your next of kin in the event you are incapacitated or killed.

I’ve seen things go very wrong because the Airman was not prepared. I don’t care if you are 18 or 48, its imperative you do the right thing and think of these things before it’s too late. It’s about being responsible and taking care of your loved ones in the event something happens.

I hope that you never have to use your SGLI, but it is important to know the risks associated with summer activities that could lead to its use. I challenge you to practice safe outdoor routines, have a fun summer, and return to your family and organization safe and sound.




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