The U.S. military has made continued progress in aviation safety over the past several years.
Fiscal year 1996 was the safest on record.
In spite of the recent group of accidents, we expect fiscal year 1997 to be a very safe year as well.
Perfection is impossible, but that is our goal for aviation safety.
Every member of our aviation community is working for zero accidents.
The lives of our aircrews and passengers are very precious, and each loss is a great tragedy.
Therefore, I have asked the services to implement a 24 hour safety stand down of training flights that will give those who fly and maintain U.S. military aircraft time to focus on that goal -- making flying as safe as we possibly can.
Operational flights are not affected by this stand down.
The stand down will take place at the discretion of the services during the week starting 7 a.m., Friday.
I know that everyone in the Department takes accident prevention seriously and that we can do better.