News: Safety First: Slowing down saves lives
Story by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
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 summer 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 summer 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.
"We typically see an increase in speeding tickets when the weather starts warming up," said Capt. Kevin Summers, 100th SFS operations officer. "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 should 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 Lt. Col. David Harris, 100th SFS commander. "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 captain 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 member of Team Mildenhall is lost to a senseless mistake."
For more information about speeding, driving safely, or any other summer-safety related matter, contact the 100th ARW Safety Office at DSN 238-2255 (01638-542255), or the 100th SFS Operations Division at DSN 238-8058 (01638-548058).