RAF MILDENHALL, England – The smell of burning charcoal lingers in the air over RAF Mildenhall as families and friends begin to soak up the warm spring air. A group of airmen gather at the barbecue pit behind their dormitory and carelessly slap a rack of juicy marinated ribs on the grill.
“This is the life,” one exclaims, as he sits back and savors the aroma.
Noticing he forgot to buy garlic salt, the airman makes a quick dash across the street to the commissary. That move was his last.
As he passes a mother ferrying her toddler across the street in a colorful wagon, a perfectly-sober driver who’s wearing his seatbelt slams on his breaks. The once-calm spring air is first filled with the screeching of tires, compounded by crushing bones and screams of horror as the driver needlessly steals the life of all three.
He simply did not watch his speed.
Luckily that scene is fictitious.
However, the 100th Security Forces Squadron leadership warns that an event just like the one painted above could happen at any moment here as they’ve noticed a drastic increase in speeding on base.
“I can tell you that the number of speeding tickets we’ve written has increased three-fold since the weather started warming up,” said Master Sgt. Emmett Tibbs, 100th SFS Operations superintendent. “Since a large number of mishaps historically occur between the start of spring and Labor Day, our Defenders are being extra vigilant to keep this community safe.”
Roadways here can be crowded, and more pedestrians are walking, he added. Team Mildenhall drivers need to be extra cognizant of their speed.
In addition to speeding, the Defenders stress that airmen do not make poor choices by driving after consuming alcohol. There are numerous alternatives.
“The consequences could be deadly if you make the wrong choice,” said Capt. Robert Clouse, 100th SFS Ops officer. “Use a designated driver, call Airmen Against Drunk Driving, give your car keys to a sober driver, or call a taxi, friend or supervisor for a ride.”
Remembering the airmen killed over garlic salt, the master sergeant has a final plea that he hopes Team Mildenhall will take seriously:
“Take a moment and think if you’d be willing to live with this on your conscience,” he said. “Please keep safety in the forefront of your minds so that no valuable member of Team Mildenhall is lost to a senseless mistake.”
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This work, Safety First: Slowing down saves lives, by SMSgt Kevin Wallace, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.