Preparing for the holidays

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- The holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Years, is one of the most special times of the year and one which many of us look upon with great anticipation. For those who are able, I encourage you to take this opportunity to recharge your batteries, reconnect with family and friends and reflect on all the wonderful things we enjoy as Americans. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have this time away from work and spend extra time with their loved ones. 

As you know, thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are serving their country around the world as part of the Global War on Terror. There are also those, closer to home, performing mission-critical duties that preclude them from spending time with their families. 

Examples in the 21st Space Wing include various 24/7 operations such as our command post, security forces, and fire department teams. Another example includes those at our geographically separated units performing missile warning and space control duties. Whether it is Christmas or New Year's, members of these units are on call no matter what time of year it is. I ask you keep these individuals in your thoughts and prayers, as well as their family members, until such time they are able to enjoy the holiday season as others do. 

The holiday season is also about taking care of one another. Whether it's supporting the family of a deployed member or calling a cab for someone who has had too much to drink, taking an active Wingman approach is a great way to care for those around you. As Col. Raymond stated in a previous article, the Wingman philosophy relies on three separate tiers - Commanders, Supervisors, and Airmen - to ensure that people, our most valuable resource, are taken care of. I would encourage others to take this to heart as well; you never know the difference you can make in someone's life until you take the time to show you care. 

Unfortunately, the holiday season also presents certain risks that may not be as prevalent during other times of the year. With the increased number of travelers on the road, taking all the necessary precautions and maintaining good situational awareness is extremely important. If you happen to be one of those holiday travelers, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, wear your seatbelt and ensure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel. 

Air Force safety statistics have shown you are most likely to experience a mishap during an off-duty activity, especially when traveling in a privately-owned vehicle. Although you can't always account for what those around you are doing, please make sure you take care of the things you can control. 

Another risk that comes to mind during the holiday season is the dangers associated with drinking and driving. The wing standard is clear -- zero incidents of Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Ability Impaired; however, there are things we can do to make this standard a reality. Drinking in moderation is a great place to start. T

he 0-0-1-3 standard has proven itself time and again as a method to prevent incidents before they occur. If you are not familiar with this standard, 0-0-1-3 means zero underage drinking offenses, zero drinking and driving incidents, one drink per hour, and three drinks maximum. And, as previously mentioned, being a good Wingman is also an effective tool when it comes to DUI incidents. When you see someone needs your assistance, have the courage to intervene. 

In closing, I'd like to re-emphasize the importance of being safe over the holidays and spending time with your loved ones. For those of you who are deployed or are unable to be with your families, please know we are thinking of you and are grateful for what you do each and every day in service to our country. Again, on behalf of the wing, I wish you and yours a holiday season filled with joy and happiness.