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Prepare for hurricane season; this week's Team MacDill standouts

  • Published
  • By Col. Lenny Richoux
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing commander
The Air Force designates the period from Memorial Day weekend through September 6 as the "101 Critical Days of Summer," and living in Florida we should also be aware that this week marks the beginning of hurricane season, officially starting June 1.

We can't control the weather, but we can and must take responsibility to plan for weather that's severe. That's why we've already devised our hurricane response plan for MacDill and rehearsed it with our community partners. Our MacDill Web site homepage points to some great resources for building your own personal hurricane response plan, and the Briefs section of this paper includes a link to online information that can also help.

So get your households prepared in case the need to evacuate or shelter in-place arises. Find out what resources you need to outlast a hurricane, and go out and get them. Don't put this off; start today.

Hurricane preparedness is one component of personnel safety, and personnel safety is among the things I think about most. Over the past six years the Air Force has experienced 218 on- and off-duty fatalities. What a tragic statistic. My goal for MacDill AFB is to ensure we have ZERO preventable fatal accidents, including accidents that result from poor hurricane planning. Let's also keep an eye on solid risk management as we plan our activities this summer. Many of the things we do off-duty can be just as deadly as a hurricane if we fail to take appropriate precautions. Think things through, don't get into a rush, and keep your mental radar scanning. That's how we'll meet our goal for the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

By the way, the 6th Air Mobility Wing Company Grade Officer Council held elections recently, and I want to congratulate the newly installed leadership -- Capt. Christopher Suhar, 1st Lt. Charles Henderlite, 1st Lt. Karen Vandor and 2nd Lt. Scott Heinlein.

I consider organizations like this invaluable. These folks have made a commitment to reach beyond their everyday duties and work to help others through professional development activities or simple acts of charity. If you're not already participating in a group with these sorts of aims, please consider getting involved. It's one of the ways we'll forge the leaders of a not-too-distant future as our Air Force continues to transform.

Do you know Airman 1st Class Jacquelyn Florez-Vaughn? She serves the Wing and mission partners as a Force Management Journeyman, but that's not all. Last week, she was the face of MacDill to a worldwide television audience and 21,000 fans at the Saint Petersburg Times Forum, where she performed the National Anthem before game six of the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins. Well done!

And how about Staff Sgt. Stephanie Vega. She's a wing scheduler in the 6th Operations Group who recently fielded an after-hours tasking from higher headquarters. The late hour made it extremely difficult for her to coordinate with all the agencies she needed to contact. Nevertheless, her initiative, expertise and drive allowed her to coordinate with all five Air Mobility Command and base-wide agencies and enabled the Wing to fully support a special operation approved by the president of the United States for a top national priority. Parati Defendere!

I am proud to serve with you in the finest Air Mobility Wing on the face of the planet!