By DJ MontoyaJune 30, 2008
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Members of the 1st Space Battalion attended a safety event on the afternoon of June 26 - not for training purposes but for recognition - as Col. Timothy Coffin, commander of the 1st Space Brigade, presented a safety certificate to Lt. Col. Thomas James, commander of the 1st Space Battalion, during a brief ceremony in Building Three here.
"This is something that I'm privileged to present to you as an entire battalion," said Coffin.
"This is a certificate of recognition on behalf of Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell, commanding general of SMDC/ARSTRAT, to the 1st Space Battalion for 12 consecutive months without a Class A, B or C accident during that period. It is a tremendous accomplishment."
Coffin stated to the group of Space Soldiers that even though the certificate was being presented to their commander, the honor really speaks to the actions of each individual in the battalion.
"Every leader, every Soldier, has to participate in order to get this certificate. Because all it takes is one person to go out and do something stupid - one person to pull out on the Colorado roads in a rush to get home in a snow storm and do the wrong thing for the staff.
"And maybe he is just a lucky guy in some respects. There are some things that are really almost out of [our] control, but sometimes we tend to excuse things being out of [our] control that really we could have influence on.
"As leaders you influence people to stop and take a second thought about what they do before they do it. You have been effective in this battalion of making that happen and doing it for a sustained duration of time. So it is my great privilege to recognize you and honor you for the work all of you have done in this area."
"I ask that you not heave a sigh of relief, but to continue on with that great work and effort because every day we get new Soldiers in and you have got to train them. You have got to develop that culture within your organization that says we are gong to do things smart, we are going to things safe, and we are going to take that second look before somebody has that second or third drink in the evening."
Upon receiving the honor for the battalion James said, "You've all heard the phrase 'Safety is no accident.'"
"I've been in units that have great safety records and units that haven't. And the difference I've always seen in a general sense is that the units that do well with safety are the ones who have Soldiers and leaders that look out for each other and take care of each other. It is as simple as the buddy system you learn in basic training."
James concluded by saying, "The most precious asset we have in this battalion and the U.S. Army is Soldiers. And that is the first thing we have to learn to protect. So this award is a credit to the battalion. Hopefully in 12 months we will be getting our second one."