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Wing safety office ensures compliance as Team Andersen's wingmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
When it comes to the mission at hand, Team Andersen Airmen, civilians and contractors must comply with all safety measures so objectives can be accomplished in a risk-free and efficient manner.

The 36th Wing safety office works diligently to provide up-to-date information to Team Andersen members and enforce all standards in place to prevent mishaps, injuries and losses of Air Force assets.

The office is divided into three sections. Each section has its own unique programs geared towards safety compliance.

Flight safety managers monitor all flight-related activities and coordinate closely with deployed fighter and bomber squadrons as well as flights within the 36th Operations Support Squadron to safeguard the millions of dollars in aircraft assets and capabilities here. Flight safety managers take charge of the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program and the Mid-Air Collision Avoidance program which enable them to accomplish the mission.

"We put together pamphlets and pass it out to various units throughout the wing and also to Won Pat International Airport," said Tech. Sgt. Byron Gwyn, 36th Wing flight safety manager. "The pamphlets help make people aware of their surroundings whenever they're flying in and out of the local area."

While the flight safety manager takes care of his portion, the weapons safety managers here monitor more than 350 explosive site plans to ensure proper distances are maintained between munitions storage areas and facilities or aircraft. They conduct annual inspections of each site and periodic spot inspections to ensure compliance with standards.

"Each explosive has a certain distance it has to be away from non-related facilities and personnel," said Tech. Sgt. Robbie Romines, 36th Wing weapons safety manager.

Flight and weapons safety managers are selected from crew chief and munitions career fields respectively due to their special experience identifier, qualifying them to be inspecting authorities based on their technical knowledge and background within the fields. Their expertise gives them a unique perspective from working within the safety office.

"When you're in the bomb dump, you don't get the big picture," said Tech. Sgt. Zach Garrett, 36th Wing weapons safety manager. "When you're out here looking back into munitions and seeing how they interact with the rest of the best, you can understand the bigger picture and how the operations impact the base."

Those who fill the ground safety manager position might not play pivotal roles with the base's premier weapons and aircraft system, but they still play an integral part in maintaining the safety of Andersen's most valuable resources - its Airmen and facilities.

Ground safety managers are the focal point for a multitude of programs throughout the wing, including motorcycle safety, supervisor safety training and mishap prevention. They conduct inspections on the majority of the wing's facilities annually and perform random inspections as needed. In worst-case scenarios, ground safety managers become key members in investigating Class A or Class B mishaps.

"We are the eyes and ears for all safety issues within the wing," said Tech. Sgt. Carlos Rogers, 36th Wing ground safety manager.

In order to facilitate the vast area of responsibility for ground safety managers, each unit in the 36th Wing appoints a unit safety representative to elevate issues through the chain of command as they arise. The unit safety reps assist the safety office in providing mishap reports and trend analyses within their respective units.

Ground safety managers identify safety issues and trends by publishing mishap and inspection cross-tells designed to give extra attention to problem areas. They also conduct newcomer briefings to first term Airmen and Team Andersen's newest members who come here via permanent change of station or deployment and provide valuable information on local conditions and trends.

All major safety campaigns here also fall into the ground safety manager's plate, including the Critical Days of Summer and all mandated Safety Day programs. It's a role Sergeant Rogers embraces wholeheartedly

"I enjoy being able to get out and talk to people about key safety issues," Sergeant Rogers said. "I enjoy training and teaching them so I can give them the tools they need to successfully run their mishap prevention programs."