AFSPC commander sends Independence Day message

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Cathy and I are proud to celebrate this 4th of July as members of the Air Force Space Command family, and we are overwhelmed with the warm welcome you have given us. I continue to be impressed with the dedication, professionalism and patriotism of the command's active-duty, Guard, reserve, civilian and contractor personnel…each of you is truly a national treasure.

This holiday carries special significance, as thousands of service men and women are deployed around the world, or standing watch here at home, defending the very freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to establish 230 years ago. Let us keep our Airmen's sacrifices foremost in our thoughts and their families in our hearts as we fight this long war for the preservation of our hard-won freedoms.

Our nation's birthday is a time of celebration, and a time to relax with family and friends. You have worked extraordinarily hard this past year, and your efforts have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. You've earned this long weekend, so enjoy it. But whatever your activities, please remember to put safety first. I need you, and your Air Force needs you back on the job July 5 rested, healthy and reenergized for the fight at hand.

Commanders and supervisors, look your troops in the eyes and emphasize you need to consider risks and act responsibly this weekend. Airmen, plan your activities in advance, identify the potential hazards and take the necessary precautions to make this a mishap-free holiday weekend. Use the proper protective equipment for your planned activity, and get plenty of rest. Please don't let fatigue or alcohol impair your judgment. Every AFSPC base has a program to provide rides for those who need one, and I encourage you to take advantage of these services if you find you've had too much to drink.

If you're celebrating on the water, ensure you do not go alone—use protective equipment and avoid alcohol. We have already lost one member of the AFSPC family due to drowning—that is one too many. Be a good wingman and take care of your fellow Airmen, coworkers and friends. Remember, safety is a choice—don't take it for granted.

Every one of you is vital to our command's success. Cathy and I wish you a happy and safe Independence Day, full of celebration, relaxation and reflection! God bless and God speed.

General Kevin P. Chilton