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Take well-deserved breathers

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- The Labor Day holiday weekend symbolizes the end of summer and is the time set aside to honor our nation's workforce. It is designed to pay tribute to you - working Americans. To thank you for year-round dedication, Labor Day is an opportunity to get some well-deserved R&R and to spend quality time with your families and friends. It is a time to reflect on the past year and plan ahead to use your earned vacation days and leave. As with all things, I hope you find it enjoyable, but please, be safe.

As an added thank you for your hard work, Gen. Kevin Chilton, Air Force Space Command commander, deemed today an Air Force Space Command Family Day. That means most of you in the 45th Space Wing will enjoy a four-day weekend. As for our mission partners, your chain of command will provide time off as their schedule permits.

However, not everybody will be off this weekend. I appreciate the military, civilians and contractors who are working this weekend. Due to the criticality of our mission 24/7/365, it is not possible for everybody to be off duty. To our warriors who have to report for duty this weekend I offer a heartfelt, "Thanks!" Your industrious nature is what Labor Day is all about.

And of course, we can't forget the labors and sacrifices of the more than 180 Sharks and mission partners deployed around the world. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts.

Finally, Labor Day also signals the start of the last month of the fiscal year. For those of us in uniform that usually means it is time to burn use or lose leave. Sometimes in the process of carrying out our missions during the year it is easy for us to want to stay fully engaged and not take time off. While I appreciate this solid work ethic and dedication, I firmly believe in taking time off to recharge batteries and share precious time with loved ones. A balanced approach to work and family is key to mission success.

So, whether you are on or off duty this holiday weekend or take extended leave in September, please continue to make safety a top priority.

As I said last week, our 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign is ongoing. Have fun, but do it safely, you are too precious not to return - our mission and our country depend on you. Your daily work makes our nation strong and prosperous. Thank you for all you do!

Remember: Be cool and ACT safe. Go Sharks!