Airmen must make responsible choices

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Hanson
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander
About a year ago, the Air Force focused efforts on embracing a "Culture of Responsible Choices." The objective is to encourage our Airmen to make choices that produce safe and healthy lifestyles - emphasizing personal responsibility and accountability for decisions made on and off-duty.

Furthermore, through a successful program, our people stay safe. Taking care of our Airmen is a key component of my wing priorities of People, Readiness and Modernization.

These priorities drive actions around the base - for example, we're transforming the dorm campus Cyber Café into a community center for Airmen, which will be a tremendous quality-of-life upgrade for our dorm residents.

To better serve these Airmen, we are transferring one of our chaplains to an office in the community center. The goal is to have an on-scene chaplain presence as a resource for dorm residents.

Chances are some of these Airmen may be engaged with life's challenges related to work, relationships or personal issues and would appreciate some help. Rather than having to travel across base to the chapel, now Airmen will have easy access to a confidential ear. We are also adding a coffee bar, creating a friendly environment where Airmen can socialize during off-duty hours, and wireless internet service to augment the multiple desktop computers currently available.

The goal of this new facility is to provide a non-threatening community environment that will help to further foster a culture for our people to make responsible choices.

Stopping DUI
Conversely, one of the most dangerous choices an Airman can make is the decision to drive under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, we have experienced a staggering eight DUIs since Dec. 1, and as you should know from your unit commanders' repeated emphasis - a single DUI is one too many.

So when you make plans to play smart - do just that. Make a smart, safe plan. But just as in combat, no plan escapes first contact with any enemy. We offer two programs to help Airmen whose responsible plans don't work out - Airmen Against Drunk Driving and Operation Home Free.

These two alternatives are safety nets in case your primary plan falls through and you are faced with irresponsible choices. Please utilize these programs responsibly.

In addition to programs like this, a thriving Wingman climate can also go a long way toward encouraging responsible behavior. Be good Wingmen to each other and look out for your fellow Airmen.

As we learned in the recent Air Force "Roll Call," as Airmen we rely on rules and standards to create our warfighting team. Because we serve a higher calling, we are held to higher standards than most of our civilian counterparts. Simply put, responsible choices must guide our conduct. This commitment is reflected in our core values of integrity, service and excellence.

I encourage everyone to continue looking after each other and urge all to act responsibly - your life, the lives of others, and your Air Force career depend on the choices you make.

Work hard / Play smart -- Responsible Choices