<b> FORT STEWART, GA. </b> -- Due to the concentrated efforts, careful planning and supervision of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team's non-commissioned officers, Sept. 17 marked 100 days without a fatal accident on or off duty for the Soldiers of the 3HBCT.

Prior to the Sledgehammer Brigade's most recent redeployment from the Mada'in Qada, Iraq, another combat brigade in the 1st Cavalry Regiment, that left Iraq shortly before the 3rd HBCT, suffered more fatalities in the first 100 days after their redeployment than they suffered in 12 months of combat.

"Soldiers are our single most valuable resource" Command Sgt. Maj. James M. Pearson, the 3rd HBCT's senior NCO, said. "In order to protect our Soldiers, safety is not just a briefing we do every Friday at a closeout formation. It is a way of life integrated into every activity we participate in. It would have been a shame for a Soldier to spend 15 months in combat and come back and lose his life because of an accident that could have been easily prevented. The number of Soldiers that died in 1st Cav after their redeployment was a real eye opener for us and we started working to make sure that the same thing didn't happen in our brigade."

Taking those numbers into account, the 3rd HBCT NCO's worked to ensure that the Hammer Brigade did not lose any Soldiers during the brigade's block leave, which was scheduled during the summertime, historically the deadliest season for the Army in terms of accident-related fatalities.

They began by assessing the roads surrounding Fort Benning and determined which roads presented the greatest risk to their Soldiers based on historical accident data. They also assessed their Soldiers individually and determined which Soldiers were the highest risks, based on a variety of factors.

Using this information, their leaders put several programs in place before the brigade returned home. The programs included travel restriction for the first 10 days back in the United States, reintegration training that concentrated on all aspects of safety, mandatory motorcycle safety instruction for all motorcyclists (even experienced ones), a motorcycle mentorship program that paired seasoned riders with novices and a constant focus and reemphasis throughout the 10-day period on safe behavior for all Soldiers.

Prior to redeployment all Soldiers were required to receive mandatory safety training focused on the hazards upon returning home.

Another brief was given to every Soldier upon arrival in the United States before they were reunited with their Families.
Then every Soldier and leader participated in 10 days of reintegration training that allowed everyone ease into garrison and Family life and still have contact with the people they just spent a year with.

The last day of training was dedicated to vehicle inspections, travel plan reviews and a Soldier safety contract prior to beginning 30 days or more of block leave.

Page last updated Fri September 26th, 2008 at 16:56