USARPAC safety specialists ensure safe operation

| June 18, 2010 | 0 Comments

U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs
News Release

Crew helps protect Soldiers and environment

Members of U.S. Army-Pacific’s safety team conduct a crew fire rescue plan safety briefing during Cobra Gold 2010 in February. The a joint training exercise focused on maintaining and improving military relationships among the U.S., Thailand, Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia. (Courtesy Photo)FORT SHAFTER — Unlike most military missions, the success of the Army’s safety mission lies in what does not happen.

U.S. Army-Pacific’s Safety Office works diligently across the command to ensure that mission goals are met without incident. 

Soldiers’ lives are rife with risk — travel, tactical and physical training and a warrior lifestyle — that too often results in injury or even death. 

The Army is committed to doing all it can to enhance the safety of its fighting force, while maintaining training intensity. 

USARPAC’s efforts to provide command and control for small-scale contingency operations — to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping operations across the Pacific area of operations — takes a lot of coordinated effort and teamwork.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general, USARPAC, understands the value safety personnel add to mission accomplishment.

“Safety is a top priority for my command. The successful efforts of our safety team before, during and after a training exercise are vital to mission success,” Mixon said. “They are vital enablers, but ultimately, commanders are responsible for safety programs.”

By embedding civilian safety specialists with tactical forces who participate in exercises throughout the USARPAC area of operations, leaders are provided the crucial expertise required to implement an effective safety program. 

Donnie Butler, USARPAC safety specialist, is among the professionals who arrive on-site weeks preceding an exercise to identify safety hazards and potential dangers prior to the arrival of the operations training party.  

“We work with leaders and training and exercise personnel to conduct their safety operations,” Butler said. “We mentor leaders on how to create a pre-accident plan including tactical operations, fire drills and patient evacuation plans. 

“We also prepare for environmental hazards such as spills, and we inspect personal protective equipment such as gloves, protective clothing and other safety equipment,” Butler said.

USARPAC safety officers help ensure a safe environment for Soldiers as they travel, train and fight. 

Butler said he and others on his team are an integral part of annual training exercises such as Cobra Gold, held in Thailand, and Balikatan, which takes place in the Philippines.  

USARPAC safety experts travel to a site well in advance to survey the training area and identify areas that may be considered safety hazards. 

They remain throughout the exercise to advise Army leaders on the best course of action to maintain the highest level of safety and operability.   

In addition, these experts brief personnel to ensure all involved are aware of the risks unique to the training site.  

“We provide a list of what to do and what not to do in a particular country, including insect and wildlife hazards, food and health hazards, and other issues unique to a specific training area,” Butler said.

Before and after training exercises, USARPAC safety officers team with ordnance personnel, ammunition experts, and medical and range safety personnel to provide the expertise vital to the safety of Soldiers and other exercise participants.

The success of the Safety Office lies not in what happens, but rather in what does not happen, Butler said.  

“What we’re doing is ensuring the safety of Soldiers and those involved in the exercises,” he explained. “Our measure of success is in avoiding the loss of personnel or equipment.”

Category: News, Safety

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