F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
The 90th Missile Wing, after two long weekends, held a safety down day Jan. 3, 2018 to emphasize that safety is still an important part of the mission.
The safety office invited retired Capt. Ben Rice, 341st Operations Support Squadron scheduler from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, to be the guest speaker at the base theater about the rollover incident he experienced while serving as a missileer in the U.S. Air Force.
“I was actually a crew member serving with Captain Rice at Malmstrom during his incident,” said Col. Stacy Jo Huser, 90th Missile Wing commander. “He is a very dear friend, and we are grateful to have him here. He remains a true family member of the Air Force as he continues to serve at Malmstrom in a civilian capacity, and it is an honor to have him here today to share his story with us.”
In May of 2004 on a bright sunny day, Rice, a fellow missileer and the missile alert facility chef were involved in a rollover incident on their way back to their base from the missile field. Rice was in the passenger seat and sustained the most serious wounds resulting from the crash including a traumatic brain injury.
Rice explained that due to the memory loss related to his brain injury, he had to meet his wife and kids for what seemed like the first time, and had to learn to walk and function like a human being again.
“Telling my story here is important because the number one cause of death in our nation is accidents, simply because we are always on the road” Rice said. “You can easily say the most powerful weapon in our nation is an individual behind the wheel of a vehicle.”
In 2017 the 90th Missile Wing missileers and support personnel, to include maintainers and security forces, drove approximately 7.7 million miles across the 9,600 square mile missile complex.
“I hope the Airmen take away the seriousness of Rice’s story, that it can happen anywhere at any time,” said Lt. Col. James Schlabach, 90th MW chief of safety. “We continually harp about driving safely, and it’s because we care about our Airmen. We’re trying to prevent as many safety mishaps as possible.”
Schlabach emphasized that even though our rate for rollovers is under the national average, even one rollover is one too many.
“I really appreciate when we do things like this. The 90th Missile Wing really has to keep safety in focus, and our Airmen have done a good job of applying safety lessons to their day to day tasks,” Schlabach said. “I would like to say thanks to the Airman of the 90th Missile Wing for applying safety every day, and I ask them to continue that.”