Make a difference this holiday season

PENTAGON -- Thank you for the difference you make every day, defending the United States of America and promoting our interests and ideals around the world. As the holiday season approaches, we encourage you to make a special effort to make a difference in the lives of those immediately around you. Many of you will travel to your hometowns across the country. Others will spend the holidays deployed in defense of freedom or at a critical duty station at your home base. Wherever you spend the holidays, we encourage you to make a difference.

Make a difference as a Wingman. Each year the Air Force experiences at least three fatal mishaps over the holiday period. This year, let's make a difference by dropping that number to zero. We need each commander, supervisor, and Airman to get personally involved. Know the holiday travel plans of your Wingmen. Check each other, and if travel plans don't pass the common sense test, adjust them. Apply personal risk management to all of your planned activities to better ensure you and your fellow Airmen return safely after the holidays.

Suicide remains a formidable enemy for our Air Force, taking more lives each year than direct enemy action. Unfortunately, the holiday season is not a joyous one for everyone. Recognize the signs of distress and take action to help your fellow Airmen in need. With proper planning and good wingmanship, we can ensure our safest holiday season ever.

Make a difference as an Ambassador. Every Airman is an ambassador to all we meet. This is true every day, but the holiday season provides many of us unique opportunities to relax and share our Air Force experiences back home. The American public overwhelmingly respects your service to the country and our Air Force. Your parents, friends, family, and teachers want to hear about your successes. We encourage you to be proud, tell the Air Force story, and brag a little!

Make a difference as an Airman. Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do are our guiding principles, the bedrock of the Airman's way of life. Directly linked to them is mutual respect - a care for one another that goes beyond the recognition of being on the same team. It's not just how we greet each other, but more importantly how we treat one another. As you share your Air Force experiences this holiday season, set the example by living our core values.

Over the course of this past year, we've traveled the globe, watching you in action. You are magnificent. We've seen you executing the mission while deployed, and we've seen you serving our combatant commanders from home station. You've been imaginative and innovative, finding better and more efficient ways for our Air Force to provide unmatched Air, Space, and Cyberspace power. Our Air Force family and mission depend on each and every one of you. Thanks again for your service and thanks for making a difference every day. Happy holidays!