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Risk Management

  • Published
  • By Col. Timothy Zadalis
  • 43rd Airlift Wing
If you have never read a commentary, take time to read this one! We all accept occasional risks, both personal and professional. The very nature of serving in today's military requires that we accept risk. However, job related risk is carefully mitigated through risk management and every attempt is made to reduce the chance of damage, personal injury, and to increase our awareness of the dangerous nature of our jobs. On-duty we have learned hard lessons when we take risks like not using Tech Orders, working too fast, ignoring regulations, or using a "short cut I saw that works." The same hard lessons apply to our off-duty activities. There are no Tech Orders, checklists, or regulations for fun, yet the same risk management concepts apply when it comes to off-duty activities.

I'm sure the Airman who was ticketed for riding his motorcycle at 100 mph in a 55 mph zone on Fort Bragg wasn't thinking about what might happen if he lost control or had an animal run in front of him at that speed - or, for that matter about the hefty fine and loss of driving privileges he incurred.

Did the Airman whose car rolled with three passengers in it use risk management? They were driving too fast on rain slick roads. Thankfully they all had seatbelts on and all walked away.

I'm also sure the driver of a vehicle that tried to pass another by pulling onto the grassy area between highway lanes while racing didn't consider the affect of going from grass to asphalt at high speeds. If he had, he wouldn't have lost control and rolled his vehicle several times.

Here's a statistic none of us should be proud of: Pope had the second highest mishap rate of any base in Air Mobility Command last year. The majority of those mishaps were caused by poor judgment, and combining risky behaviors like drinking and driving, no seatbelts, excessive speed, and poor vehicle condition. Other mishaps were attributed to failing to see or hear something in time to avoid it; distractions like cell phones, and/or not paying attention to the task at hand. The Wing Safety Office determined that discipline, or the willful noncompliance with laws, regulations or accepted standards of conduct and behavior greatly increases your chances of an accident. Many mishaps included several of these factors, and it's plain to see that proper risk management - something as simple as thinking before acting - could have prevented a majority of the incidents that happened last year.

We're always concerned about safety around our aircraft and in work centers across the base, but that has to carry through to our off-duty actions as well. If the first words out of your mouth are, "Hey y'all, watch this," it might be a good idea to stop and think. If you wouldn't want your first sergeant, commander, or me knowing what you're about to do, it's probably a good idea to stop and think it over again. We need to watch out for ourselves and our wingman, and stop taking unnecessary risks that come back around to hurt us, or as in the case of several of our fellow Team Pope members, kill us.

Today we celebrate Earth Day with events at Pope Elementary School. The first Earth Day happened in 1970, and it's a day to stop and think about our environment. Pope has a laudable environmental record throughout the year, and today is a day that we'll use to help educate our children about things they can do to make our world a cleaner and safer place to live.

Congratulations to Maj. Derek Mullin, Maj. Daniel Ganoza, Tech. Sgt. Steven Valenti and Staff Sgt. Joshua Martin of the 2d Airlift Squadron on their selection for the Doolittle Award for the best aircrew in Air Mobility Command. Also, congratulations to the Command Post Staff for their selection as Best in AMC.

Please remember to be SAFE, watch out for your WINGMAN, and don't be THAT GUY!