Squadron consistently recognized for safety
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan -- “Safety isn’t something that just happens, nor can it be considered separately from mission planning,” said Capt. David M. Garcia, an aviation safety officer with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262. “A tactically sound plan is also an inherently safe plan by nature.”
The squadron, part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, was recognized for its safe planning and operational record during a ceremony Jan. 3 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, commanding general of 1st MAW, presented the unit with the 2011 Chief of Naval Aviation Operations Safety Award.
“The factors that are considered for the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award are number of hours flown, missions assigned, squadron tasking, training accomplished and any sort of adverse conditions and environment (the squadron faced) that could impact the squadron’s ability to conduct and accomplish its mission,” said Maj. Brian D. Maurer, the director of safety and standardization for HMM-262. “The squadron’s nomination is submitted through our higher commands, who then forward it up to the Chief of Naval Operations for consideration.”
Although the award acknowledged the unit’s efforts and performance during calendar year 2011, HMM-262 was also recognized for its outstanding performance in a May 2012 ceremony, where the unit was presented the 2011 Edward C. Dyer Award for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron of the Year and the 2011 Pete Ross Safety Award by the Marine Corps Aviation Association.
“We don’t cut corners, we do it the right way each and every time,” said Maurer. “We are professionals and are required to conduct ourselves as such, and every member of HMM-262 has taken this to heart. The results speak for themselves.”
Since the squadron conducts operations with inherent risks and dangers, it must minimize and control risks as effectively as possible.
“We have to identify and mitigate risks as best we can in order to not only accomplish a mission, but be ready to continue to accomplish any follow-on missions,” said Garcia. “Most of that risk management comes in the planning phase, but it is also a continuous effort during execution by every member of a team.”
By taking these steps, the unit achieved its safety record by cultivating a unified stance and command climate of safety awareness and risk management.
“These prestigious awards recognize and reinforce what the squadron believes in,” said Maurer. “HMM-262 is doing business correctly and accomplishing the mission consistently, on time and on task.
“It is a great honor for the Marines and sailors of the unit to be recognized by the Chief of Naval Operations, as it tells the members of the squadron that everyone outside of our unit recognizes that we are conducting our business the right way.”