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Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | Dec. 15, 2006

2007: Let's make it a success!

By Brig. Gen. Burt Field 1st Fighter Wing commander

Thank you for an outstanding 2006!

We celebrated important milestones like reaching Raptor Initial Operating Capability, won Air Force level awards, like the Raytheon Trophy, and safely deployed our aircraft around the country this summer while we completed a massive runway renovation project. We've done this while integrating the Virginia Air National Guard into the 1st Fighter Wing and fighting the Global War on Terror.

Our achievements were made possible by the hard work, dedication and tireless efforts of each and every one of you. I can't thank you enough for your service and sacrifice.
There is much to be proud of, but there is a new challenge in the U.S. Air Force: to establish a Culture of Responsible Choice at Langley.

Over the past three weeks, The Flyer has included a series of articles about alcohol abuse, drinking and driving, suicide and illegal drug use. The articles revealed personal stories of those who either made an irresponsible choice or who were personally affected by someone who did. I hope you read these articles and realized the devastating consequences that can result when we make poor choices.

Now, more than ever, we must make responsible choices; the Air Force is working toward one goal: Reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents and drug positives by 25 percent in fiscal year 2007. Alcohol and drug misuse is not only a contributing factor in suicides, sexual assaults, domestic violence and motor vehicle accidents, but it affects the individual's health, family, career and our mission readiness.

So, how is Langley doing? In FY06, Langley had 98 alcohol-related incidents, and 10 people tested positive for drugs. We must significantly reduce these numbers in FY07 by not exceeding 73 alcohol-related incidents and seven drug positives to meet the 25 percent reduction goal. While not our ultimate goal, it is a realistic step in the right direction.

The bad news: Since Oct. 1, Langley has had 31 alcohol-related incidents and three drug positives. We are going in the wrong direction, and if we continue, we will far exceed FY06 totals!

We simply must do better when it comes to taking care of ourselves and taking care of others.

We need to take stock in this new challenge of creating a Culture of Responsible Choices. This is a broad effort focused on the ultimate weapon and our most valuable resource ... our Airmen. The program focuses on alcohol, drugs and suicide as well as weight loss, exercise, decreasing cholesterol levels, smoking cessation, improving marital communication and becoming better parents.

I agree ... it is very ambitious, but we need every Airman operating at 100 percent all the time. CoRC is about taking individual responsibility, questioning corporate practices that don't encourage responsible behaviors and changing the culture within our organizations to live healthier lives.

We are all in this together, and we need everyone to accomplish the mission. We must hold ourselves accountable to take care of ourselves and look out for our Wingmen.
Let's start off 2007 on the right foot and continue to set the bar high, by exceeding our Air Force goal to reduce drug and alcohol use by 25 percent and creating a culture of responsible choice right here at Langley. Have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season, and I'll see you next year.