Bird's Eye View: Cell phone headset use increases

  • Published
  • By Col. Bryan J. Gallagher
  • 95th Air Base Wing commander
In early 2006, Air Force Materiel Command began enforcing a Department of Defense restriction on using cell phones on military installations without a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth or wired headset. 

This new policy was implemented for your safety and the safety of others. A University of Utah study has shown that the use of a cell phone while driving is a distraction and almost as, if not more, dangerous as driving under the influence.

Now, more than ever, motorists are using their headsets to chat while driving, and I've seen more drivers pulled off along side the road while talking. Many people have taken the hands-free policy to heart, and that's great for keeping Team Edwards safe. 

Although more people are using headsets, not everyone is following suit. Remember, the 95th Security Forces Squadron has the authority to pull over anyone using a cell phone without a hands-free device. 

The only exception to this rule is first responders such as Security Forces, paramedics and firefighters. They are permitted to use their cell phones and radios while driving in the performance of their duties. However, it's not a blank check. The conversations should be brief and limited to completing the mission. If other first responders are in the vehicle, they should be using the radio or phone to allow the driver to concentrate on the road. 

Whether you're driving on or off base, be sure to follow the rules of the road, and stay safe!

Sponsors vital to PCS process 

When you received your assignment to Edwards, did you have a sponsor to help guide you through the ins and outs of the base? Whether you've been in the Air Force for 20 years or 20 days, getting a sponsor to help ease the transition from one base to another is vital. 

Every base is different. Edwards itself is distinctive because of its mission, location, climate and expansive desert landscape. That's why it is so important to make contact with your inbound Airmen and offer them a sponsor from your unit. 

While sponsoring an inbound Airman, it's important to give them as much information you can about the base. Start with sending them a bound copy of the new 2007 Edwards Base Guide. It includes maps, historical information, housing plans, event listings and a thorough list of amenities on the base. If you have fact sheets for your unit, send those as well. 

Most importantly, make your new co-worker feel welcome to your unit. Moving and taking on a new job are two of the most stressful times in a person's life. The more guidance you provide to the new Airman, the easier it will be for that person to integrate seamlessly into your unit. 

Air Base Wing welcomes new vice commander 

Finally, I would like to welcome Col. Nancy Wharton to Edwards as the 95th Air Base Wing's new vice commander. 

She arrived two weeks ago and has spent that time getting settled in and learning more about Team Edwards. You may have seen her at the opening of the Higher Grounds Internet Cafe on July 13. 

Arriving here from the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, Colonel Wharton has a communications background and was originally scheduled to command the 95th Communications Group. She is an exceptional officer, and she is already working to help make Edwards a great place to live and work.