By Ann Patton
Academy Spirit staff
The Academy’s Directorate of Safety has received the Secretary of the Air Force Safety Award Category II for 2009.
“We are very pleased, very proud,” said Phil DeRemer, the Academy’s deputy director of safety. “It is the most prestigious of all safety awards.”
Lt. Col. Bryan Cessna, the director of safety, said he is also pleased with the award and gives credit to the Academy community for contributing to the directorate’s success.
“We are just a tiny part of it,” he said. “We have a great team at the Academy, and it shows.”
The six-member directorate staff also includes Master Sgt. Jeff Selbe, ground and weapons safety manager, and ground safety specialists Tim Lujan, Mark Schmidt and Cliff Tebbe.
The directorate’s accomplishments include: ground safety management cited for an 83 percent off-duty fatality reduction from fiscal year 2002 in the Academy’s mishap prevention program; thousands of high-risk activities mitigated for 3,700-plus cadets during 100-plus events and nine weeks of training, 100 percent training of motorcycle operators resulting in zero reportable mishaps and vehicle operations for athletic teams and club sports with zero reportable mishaps while completing 10,600 trips.
In flight safety, the Academy supported the busiest visual flight rules airfield in the United States, with safety success in high operations tempo supporting powered flight, soaring and free-fall parachuting programs.
In weapons safety, the Academy was noted for managing a weapons program comprised of 11 sites, maintaining 39 munitions supply points supporting the Academy, Air Force Space Command and worldwide deployments and meeting safety requirements for the FalconLaunch-8 rocket project for cadets in the Department of Astronautics.
The Academy also received the SECAF Safety Award II in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008.
Mr. DeRemer has been with the directorate since 1994, and the reason for its successes is clear to him.
“We have good people on the Academy who make it happen,” he said.
The directorate serves as an umbrella of sorts for all safety-related entities on the Academy, and it is a 24/7 responsibility.
“We touch everything on base, and safety affects everything,” Colonel Cessna said.
He also stressed safety concerns extend off-base.
“Off-duty is just as important to us,” he said. “If we lose time from a mishap off-base, that is mission capability lost.”
He pointed out since Sept. 11, 2001, the Air Force has lost 60 Airmen in combat but 600 in mishaps.
“An Airman lost is still an Airman lost,” he said.
The Academy honored its own in the directorate for their contributions to Academy safety during ceremonies Wednesday.
Named Unit Safety Representative of the Year is Master Sgt. James Harker, 98th Flying Training Squadron, for having 840 cadets safety-trained with 92 percent of cadets awarded jump wings by 69 percent cadet instructors.
Tech. Sgt. Brian McCoy received the award for Safety Individual of the Year as safety enforcer for
the Jacks Valley training complex responsible for 95,000 blank rounds, 1,400 smoke grenades, 2,500 ground burst simulators, all with zero discrepancies and zero incidents.
Vehicle Operations (Dispatch) in the 10th Air Base Wing was named Team of the Year for 10,000-plus trips transporting 200,000+ passengers over 800,000 miles mishap free and with zero passenger injuries or safety incidents.
Named Unit of the Year was the 306th Flying Training Group, with zero Class A/B flight mishaps in 22,285 sorties and 13,027 flight hours.