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734th AMS safety program tops earns AF safety award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brian Bahret
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Holding true to their motto "Safety by the book and then on time," the 734th Air Mobility Squadron earned the Air Force Chief of Safety Outstanding Achievement Award for their ground safety program.

In a congratulatory letter, Col. Donald Halpin, Air Mobility Command safety director, praised the 734th AMS for their efforts.

"These award winners represent the best in a class of Airmen dedicated to making the lives or our members and their families safer and better," Colonel Halpin said. "This command's world-wide 24/7/365 mission makes this no small feat indeed. We now charge them to share their accomplishments with others so we may all better protect our people. We are very proud of them indeed!"

Lt. Col. Steven Shinkel, 734th AMS commander, praised his team for their efforts.

"This is a tribute to the men and women of the air mobility squadron," said Lt. Col. Steven Shinkel, 734th AMS commander. "It took all of them to make this happen and I'm proud of their accomplishments."

Master Sgt. Troy Mueller, 734th AMS safety superintendent, said each section in the squadron has a safety representative and all have "a very aggressive program."

"I attribute this award to the safety culture in the unit," Sergeant Mueller said. "They're motivated to apply safety in everything they do. They put a lot into the program and it's a team award. Everyone worked hard for us to earn this recognition."

In a job where the Airmen are constantly moving cargo, loading aircraft, and operating heavy machinery, danger is always present, said Colonel Shinkel.

During 2008, the 734th AMS safely processed 33,000 passengers and 11,000 tons of cargo in 3,000 missions. In order to offset the hazards, the unit adopted a safety observer program where Airmen not actively participating in a task act as observers while others operate heavy machinery. Their goal is to identify potential hazards before they happen.

While the unit is constantly on the go, it was their collective efforts that helped the unit reduce safety violations by 20 percent, said Sergeant Mueller.

"This is a tribute to all the folks in the 734th, but this accomplishment rests more on the shoulders of the junior ranking Airmen and the supervisors," added Colonel Shinkel.

Earning accolades is nothing new for the AMS. In 2008, the Air Mobility Command Inspector General team labeled the 734th AMS's safety program "outstanding" following an en route readiness inspection. Additionally the unit earned 13 Wing and AMC-level awards for their mission performance the same year.

Colonel Shinkel said the squadron will continue moving forward with their safety program.

"You can't rest on your laurels and you can't let your guard down for safety," he said.