Hindsight in 2020

By Ms. Allie Brown, HQ AMC Occupational Safety

Did you ever look back and think your last decision might have been a mistake?

Maybe it was the time you decided to do something and the hairs on the back of your neck stood up in protest, but you ignored it and proceeded anyway. Possibly, it was something new, and the thought never crossed your mind that the outcome might not be what you expected. Or maybe you knew about the risks, but thought your cat-like reflexes would keep you from getting hurt (this may or may not apply to my entire youth).

This year, in our annual quest to keep Airmen safe and healthy over the summer months, Air Mobility Command’s safety focus is “Hindsight in 2020.” Our goal during this campaign is zero fatal mishaps. From 2016 through 2018, AMC met this goal. In summer of 2019, however, two AMC Airmen lost their lives. Our hindsight tells us personal risk management could have prevented both of these mishaps.

Now summer 2020 is here, and it is time to start planning new adventures and exploring new places and activities. Kayaking? Count me in. Diving? Definitely! Skydiving? Well, let us not get crazy… The point is, whatever your summer activity of choice is, there is probably some level of risk involved. It is easy to get swept up in excitement and want to cram as much fun as possible into these fleeting warm months. Unfortunately, that often leads to taking on unnecessary risk with hasty or ill-advised decisions. This summer, that risk may be compounded by the uncertainty the world faces during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between travel advisories and social distancing, participation in traditional summer events may not be possible in the coming months. So what do Airmen do when faced with a challenge? We innovate! Necessity may have been the mother of invention back in Plato’s day, but necessity has nothing on a bored Airman.

As you face decisions which could increase your daily risk this summer, look back on situations where you may have made mistakes in the past. You know the ones I mean; we all have them. The decisions you are surprised you lived through. The ones that still make you wince. How did those decisions affect you? If you knew then what you know now, would you have done things differently? There is no way to see the future and prevent every single potentially dangerous situation. You can, however, use your perfect hindsight to shape future risk and devise smarter courses of action which will increase the probability of safer results. Remember, the unnecessary risk you take today might be the regret you or your loved ones live with tomorrow.

On behalf of Air Mobility Command, have a safe and healthy summer.