Memorial Day honors our commitment to each other

  • Published
  • By Gen. Raymond E. Johns, Jr.
  • Commander, Air Mobility Command
Memorial Day is a time for us to remember our fellow service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. As you prepare for the long weekend, please remember those courageous Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen whose selfless service helped secure our nation and way of life.

As Airmen, we have a unique perspective on the personal commitment and family sacrifice that service requires. When the nation calls, we all say "goodbye" to our families instead of "goodnight," knowing in a matter of hours we may be flying halfway around the world to help those we don't even know.

Chief Spector and I want to thank each of you for your service to our nation. We would also like to thank the families of our Mobility Airmen for their service and sacrifice to our nation as well. Though you may not wear the uniform on the battlefield, you wear it in your hearts. Thanks to your steadfast support, love and devotion, our Airmen can successfully go forward and perform their missions, knowing things at home are in the best possible hands.

Whether supporting combat operations or humanitarian relief efforts, you've magnificently conquered every challenge thrown your way. Now, I'm asking you to conquer one more. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day more Airmen are injured or killed on our nation's roadways than at any other time of year. Over the last two summers alone, five Mobility Airmen lost their lives. That's five families, not to mention hundreds of friends and co-workers, whose lives are forever changed by the loss of a loved one.

We can't afford to lose a single Airman. You are too important - to your family, to the mission and to our Air Force. In this year's Critical Days of Summer campaign we are promoting a strong safety culture and increased wingman involvement to reverse these trends. A mature safety culture exists when everyone knows what to do because it is second nature. Being a good wingman is more than a ride home when plan "A" falls through; it's about being there for your fellow Airmen, and helping to guide them in making right and safe choices.

From Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya and Japan, you are delivering hope, fueling the fight, and saving lives every day. I am very proud of each and every one of you.

Enjoy the summer - and stay safe!