Commentary by Col. Wayne Monteith
50th Space Wing commander
Team Schriever — as the holidays draw near, I want to say thanks to you for your professionalism, proficiency and dedication that make “flawless operations” the hallmark of the 50th Space Wing. Whether here at Schriever, at one of our geographically separated units or deployed in the area of responsibility, your efforts each and every day provide critical warfighting capabilities to our country around the clock.
Since I took command last August, this base just continues to impress. We welcomed vital new satellites such as TacSat-3, Space Based Space Surveillance, Global Positioning System IIF-1, Wideband Global Satcom-3 and Advanced Extremely High Frequency-1. We passed a grueling Air Force Space Command operations readiness inspection/unit compliance inspection. And, we filled 238 base houses with families, most of whom will be celebrating their first Thanksgiving and Christmas in their new homes at Schriever this year. None of these accomplishments could have been possible without your hard work and commitment to the wing.
As we get closer to your much-deserved days off, I want to make sure you not only enjoy them, but stay safe while doing so. Spend this time with your friends and family and take a moment to reflect on why you are thankful this holiday season. But also, please keep a few things in mind as you celebrate.
Anyone stationed at Schriever for one winter can tell you the dangers of Highway 94 during the commute to and from work. Roads are icy, drivers are impatient and visibility can be low. Be aware of our Snow Call line (567-SNOW) procedures and exercise operational risk management to ensure you get to work and back home safely. Drive defensively and obey all traffic laws. Remember, texting while driving is illegal.
Just in case something does happen on the road, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and your vehicle has an emergency kit packed and a half tank of gas at all times.
If you’re going to be traveling long distances for the holidays, be sure to take some extra precautions. Leave early to allow for traffic or detours and never drive tired. Do not try and push out a few more hours of driving if you cannot stay awake. Get some rest and then get back on the road. Wherever your destination and whoever you are visiting will still be there even if you are a little late because you were being cautious.
If you plan on skiing, snowboarding or partaking in any other winter sports, exercise proper ORM. Wear a helmet, keep yourself warm and hydrated and do not do anything stupid. You are an Airman, not an X-Gamer. Know your ability level and do not surpass it; if you cannot do a back flip, please do not try.
Finally, make sure you are being safe with your holiday activities. Do not leave holiday lights on inside your house when you are not home. Do not leave cooking food unattended and always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case something gets too hot.
Gina and I hope you have a joyous and safe holiday season. You have worked hard all year and the 50th Space Wing has made some important strides because of your contributions. You deserve some time to celebrate; but please stay safe. We need you to come back to work and continue to make Schriever AFB the best base in the Air Force!