JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Hundreds of service members from all corners of the 87th Air Base Wing gathered for a commander’s call May 14, 2013, at the Timmermann Center here.
A commander’s call is a forum in which commanders disseminate key information to their service members.
The 87th ABW commander, Col. John Wood, expressed his appreciation and concern for the service members in the wing. Navy Capt. William Bulis, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst deputy commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Kazmirski, 87th Mission Support Group superintendent, also spoke to the wing members on safety.
Wood began the commander’s call by introducing the wing’s slogan for the summer “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The slogan reflects the wing’s motto, “Win as One,” which encourages service members to work together to be successful.
“You can go as far as you want as a team, and I know all of you have seen that in your units,” said Wood. “You can do your mission a lot better with your wingmen.”
The next topic Wood spoke about was the massive amount of major-command-level and Air-Force-level awards 87th ABW units won. Wood gave the floor to Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry, JB MDL Public Affairs editor, who attempted to speed read a list of awards the 87th ABW earned last year. Throneberry could not announce the awards as fast as they appeared on the slideshow, which was displaying the awards one-by-one on the screen. He jokingly told Wood he could not keep up with the list because there were too many awards.
Wood emphasized the teamwork that went into winning these awards and noted the outstanding unit award the wing earned last year.
The wing members then watched a video featuring the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody.
They addressed the importance of service members respecting one another and working together to prevent sexual assault.
Bulis echoed the video after its conclusion emphasizing that sexual assault is not an Air-Force-centric problem.
“The chief of naval operations, chief of staff of the Army, commandant of the Marine Corps and commandant of the Coast Guard are also concerned about this issue,” said Bulis. “Sexual assault is a growing concern that each and every service member is responsible for.”
Bulis took a very serious and concerned tone as he spoke on this issue. He added that sexual assault prevention is every service member’s responsibility.
Wood then moved on to explain the 2013 Critical Days of Summer campaign.
Wing members next watched an AMC video that explained how the Critical Days of Summer campaign promotes summer safety for service members.
“We lose more Airmen during summer than any other time of year,” said Wood. “Traffic collisions and drownings are two of the biggest killers of Airmen in today’s Air Force.”
Kazmirski took the floor after Wood, supporting Wood’s words.
The Air Force lost 16 Airmen last year and the Navy lost 20 Sailors Memorial Day through Labor Day. The three main causes were traffic collisions, drinking and water activities, said Kazmirski.
Kazmirski announced to the auditorium that the Joint Base Safety Office will be hosting “Street Smart” briefs May 21, 2013, at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Joint Base Theater. Another brief will be held May 22, 2013, at the Timmermann Center. Military members age 25 and younger are required to attend one of the briefs, but military families are welcome and encouraged to attend as well.
Wood closed the commander’s call by reiterating the several topics covered throughout the forum. He then released the service members and stuck around with the deputy commanders and other base leaders for service members to ask specific questions.
“I learned the importance of safety and how much being a wingman really matters,” said Airman 1st Class Bria Mitchell-Nunes, 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron inventory apprentice. “The briefs showed me we are all one team fighting the same fight. The camaraderie makes me proud to be an Airman.”