Remember others this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. John N.T. Shanahan
  • 55th Wing
As we begin the holiday season, all of us need to take a break and find time to recharge our mental and physical batteries. In light of last week's tragic events that left one of our young Airmen dead, I want to emphasize the importance of taking care of each other -- now more than ever.

The concept of watching out for our brothers- and sisters-in-arms is not new. In fact, while serving down-range, it becomes a natural extension of the combat environment. For reasons that are not always easy to understand, however, that helpful Wingman attitude too often melts away when our deployers return to home station, or when our people leave the base at the end of the day. Our Wingman responsibilities don't stop when we return from a deployment or leave the office.

Our coworkers, from the youngest Airmen to the most senior leaders, sometimes need our help to make good decisions. Whether that decision happens to be skipping that last round of drinks, pointing out and stopping risky behavior, or simply saying "no" when somebody asks you to join in an action that you know could result in injury or damage, we all have a responsibility to intervene to keep our fellow Airmen safe.

With the holiday season in full swing, most of us will join our family and friends for a party, dinner or just to hang out and relax. Often these gatherings include a drink or two and the chance to laugh and share stories.

While you are enjoying yourselves, have a game plan. If you drive, don't drink. And if you drink, don't drive. As important as it is to have a plan, it's even more important to stick to it. If you see someone who has had too much to drink, or is acting carelessly and endangering themselves or others, do everything you can to stop the activity before someone gets hurt. The last thing anyone wants to see is a promising career cut short or even worse someone injured or killed because of a preventable, reckless and tragic act.

I want everyone to enjoy the holiday season. It really is possible to be safe and responsible while enjoying the festivities. If one of your friends is about to make a poor decision, do the right thing and be a good Wingman: step in and make a difference. I want to see all of you back in the New Year safe, rested and ready to continue our critical mission.

Thanks for all you do.