Southbound, still safe-minded

  • Published
  • By Lt Col Warren Ward
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Team Vance, it is with mixed emotions that I write this last article for the Airscoop. I have been blessed with an opportunity to command the 321st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
My family and I depart Vance AFB today after only 17 months with a team of truly professional people. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great base and be a part of the friendly Enid community.
Thank you Colonel Callan for allowing me the chance to be chief of safety for 10 wonderful months. The military and civilian safety staff are a great "specialty team" supporting Team Vance's safe conduct every day. Our ground safety folks are among the first any newcomer meets upon arrival at the base, and they set the tone for safe conduct.
A professional team of warriors training America's future leaders, Team Vance plays an important role instilling safety into our first-term Airmen and student pilots. Supervisors at every level are key to the very basic principles of Operational Risk Management -- determining if the benefit outweighs the risk in any action. While we focus on the Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training flying environment at Vance AFB, most of our safety issues occur on the ground and are not limited to the aviators.
Alcohol related incidents are on the rise. You may ask yourself, "Why at every commander's call do I have to hear a lecture on drinking and driving?" Why? Because despite all the words commanders can muster, some of our teammates still are not listening! The demographics at Vance AFB mean we have a young population -- many first-term Airmen and new college graduate student pilots. Team Vance is made of youthful, vigorous individuals on their first assignment pushing it up and living large in Enid, America. While we all need to release tensions and relax, we need to be responsible teammates looking out for each other. A night on the town drinking requires the use of a sober designated driver. Plan ahead. If your plans fall through, call a friend, first sergeant, commander, Vance Against Drunk Driving or the command post. Personally, you cannot afford to get into a vehicle and drive under the influence of alcohol. You threaten not only your life and those who may be riding with you, but the lives of innocent people on the highways with you. Professionally, you cannot afford the cost of a DUI, DWI or public intoxication charge. The Uniform Code of Military Justice consequences will mar an otherwise outstanding record. Please drink responsibly and take care of each other!
In the air, Team Vance is the envy of 19th Air Force pilot training operations. Our safety record is the command's best, not by the efforts of the wing safety office, but by the individual efforts of each pilot and controller at this base. Keep making those good decisions that keep our operations safe and ensure our Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nations get the very best new pilots in the world. Thank you all for making my job easy for the past 10 months in safety.
As I step away from 71st Flying Training Wing safety, Maj Ryan Guiberson will hold down the fort until Oct. 1 when Lt Col Robert Weiland will take the helm. I know all organizations will be focusing on the summer '05 Operational Readiness Inspection, but the most important thing we can do every day is watch each other's six. Stay safe, think before you act and don't hesitate to help another teammate out if you see that he is choosing the wrong path. I leave with fond memories of Vance and Enid as a student in class 88-05 and again as an instructor from April '03 to September '04. Thanks for the memories!