New Horizons training day focuses on safety, culture
July 29, 2008
<b>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea </b>- Soldiers and civilians around Yongsan participated in the 13th New Horizons Training program July 24, a semiannual session designed to provide a review of safety issues, cultural awareness, and conduct and responsibility.
The Army Family requires a proactive safety culture for our Soldiers and Civilians," said Russell Obey, the U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan safety officer. "We must have a safety mindset at all times and integrate composite risk management 24 hours a day."
In his safety presentation to Soldiers and Civilians at the Yongsan Multipurpose Training Facility, he said the Army lost 743 Soldiers in fiscal year 2008. Of those, 21 percent, or 136, were accidental deaths.
"Never give safety a day off," he said, citing a common slogan. "Use risk management to help weigh the benefits and costs of each risk, and plan ahead and make choices that prevent mishaps."
Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., 8th U.S. Army commander, delivered a video message to all participants peninsula-wide, also citing the important of safety.
"Safety is a command responsibility," he said. "It's about force protection. And it's a part of the mission, not an addition. Protection is warfighting function on equal standing with maneuver and fires."
He said he is "deeply concerned ... for your health and for your safety. While you and I serve in Korea, I charge you to always maintain situational awareness, always use the buddy system, and always be aware of what is happening around you."
More than 200 Soldiers and civilians gathered at MPTF nearly all day to listen to presentations on various issues.
While safety took center stage, cultural awareness played a key role, too. Sgt. 1st Class Carl Manns, from the 94th Military Police Battalion, said, "We want U.S. soldiers to be aware of Korean culture, and we brought a Korean national who served in the Korean War as guest speaker."
The Republic of Korea is the only place in the world where augmentee Soldiers from another nation serve side by side with U.S. Soldiers, said Capt. Young Chun, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG-Yongsan.
"New Horizon's Day provides the perfect opportunity for units to be able to educate both their U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers on a number of various topics such as safety, both on and off duty, as well as an overview of the KATUSA program," he said. "By doing so, a more cohesive relationship at the workplace is built, often leading to lifelong friendships."
For Carrie Wiggins, this was her first time attending New Horizons Training since arriving in November 2007.
"It's definitely helpful to understand the dynamics of Korean culture and understanding the situation here," said Wiggins, a human resources specialist at the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. "The training has helped me understand how we work as a cohesive group towards creating a comprehensive safety mechanism."
Sgt. 1st Class Roshaun Anderson of the Religious Retreat Center agreed. "I think this is an outstanding training especially for new Soldiers to gain full awareness of Korean Soldiers and their culture. And for those that have been here, it was a good review."