Fires Center of Excellence recognized for safety
May 24, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Training Soldiers for war is often a mixture of learning how to fight, use live ammunition and perform in severe weather conditions. Most importantly, that training needs to be done safely.
The Training and Doctrine Command has taken notice of the safety practices here and recently the Fires Center of Excellence and 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery were chosen to represent TRADOC in an Armywide safety competition at division and battalion level, respectively.
1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery, 95th Adjutant General Battalion, and 1st Battalion, 30th FA also received certificates of achievement for their contributions in safety.
"There's a lot to a safety program. It is driven by mission, Army regulations and things like that to include [Occupational Safety and Health Administration,] TRADOC and Army requirements," said John Cordes, FCoE safety director. "Commanders have got so much on their plate nowadays to actively work these programs -- that's a lot of work."
The FCoE conducts numerous training courses including Basic Combat Training, warrior transition courses, Captains Career courses, Basic Officers Leadership courses, warrant officer courses, noncommissioned officer courses and military occupational specialty courses for field artillery and air defense artillery units. With all this training taking place, the post had 133 total recordable accidents for fiscal 2011, down from 180 the year prior.
Even more impressive is there were two less heat injuries than the year before even with Oklahoma's record-breaking heat of 87 days exceeding 100 degrees.
"The bottom line here is the safety of the Soldiers and civilians who work and train here," said Cordes. "It's a culture. We've had a big safety culture change over the past couple of years."
Cordes said awareness is a big part of safety and each unit has accomplishments for which they can be proud.
"You can have all the programs in place that you want and they mean nothing if you're not actively working them. These commanders, they're actively working their programs they're engaged," said Cordes.
Since starting gender integrated training, 1-40th FA has not had a single femoral hip fracture. The 434th FA Brigade actually led the way for all Basic Combat Training units in the Army for the least amount of injuries of this type and 1-40th FA had the least amount in the brigade. They accomplished this by strictly adhering to the Army Physical Fitness Training standard especially during ruck marches.
The 95th AG was responsible for creating the Motorcycle Mentorship Program thanks to Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Ellington. The program became the standard for the entire brigade using rider education courses, operating licensing and testing, and public information sharing programs.
The 1-19th FA was recognized as having the best safety program in the entire Army in 2011 and sustained and even improved their standards by lowering Class C accidents by 5 percent and Class D accidents by 10 percent.
1-30th FA taught almost 6,000 students with more than 8,000 hours of POI instruction, fired more than 20,000 rounds, and spent more than 165 days in the field with no fatalities and no major safety violations.
To put these safety missions in perspective, Cordes asks one question.
"If you have a good safety program what does that do?" he asked. "You're reducing the possibility of accidents occurring, losing life, also equipment too. One of those military trucks gets in an accident and that could possibly kill somebody or hurt them seriously. Plus, thousands of dollars worth of equipment damage too that would have to be replaced. So a good active safety program definitely protects resources."
"The U.S. Army's Fires Center of Excellence's comprehensive approach to safety, adherence to standards, and dedication to excellence are deserving of recognition and award. Their superior leadership and commitment reflect great credit on the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command and the U.S. Army," said Maj. Gen. Bradley May, Army deputy chief of staff.