By Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Gillis
Air National Guard Readiness Center
ST. LOUIS (8/10/09) -- As iron sharpens iron, we will all make one another more focused when it comes to safety, said the Air National Guard’s senior officer here Aug. 4 during a safety summit.
Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt III, director of the Air Guard, kicked off the summit that included guest speakers from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The overall message and theme of this summit, “Back to Basics, Break the Chain,” was highlighted by guest speakers through issues, aspects and challenges. The groups discussed the proper balance between aviation, maintenance, ground safety, mission tasks and operational discipline, and re-identified and addressed safety issues.
Three featured aviation speakers included Bud Redmond, deputy chief of safety and executive director for the Air Force Safety Center; Greg Feith, senior accident investigator for the NTSB; and other safety professionals, who joined Wyatt to discuss safety one-on-one with more than 370 key Air Guard members serving at the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Lt. Col. Dan Polanosky, acting safety chief at the Air Guard’s Readiness Center on Andrews Air Force Base, Md., said a record number of the adjutants general and wing commanders participated.
“We had several mishaps this year that, cost-wise, seemed minor, but were on the fringe of major disasters …,” said Polanosky, adding that the mishaps brought lessons to learn and share at the summit.
“Safety is a universal message, no matter what organization you’re affiliated with … the National Guard Bureau Safety staff is innovative, proactive and creative in their approach to safety, which is saving lives and resources,” said Polanosky.
Other related topics addressed were suicide prevention and awareness, which included presentations by a combined leadership from the National Guard Bureau Chaplains Office and the ANGRC medical staff.
The second day of the summit began with an FAA safety perspective from guest speaker, Alan Feinberg, a senior safety engineer with the FAA. This day was highlighted by two, internal ANG aviation lessons-learned out briefs, and then followed by numerous afternoon breakout sessions. The summit reconvened for a general session with an overall question and answer session by Col. Mike McDonald, the commander of the ANGRC.
“I am very proud of the commitment of our safety professionals,” said McDonald. “Day in and day out, at every level, they continue to do an outstanding job.”Awards given out included: