News: Stand-down reinforces Corps’ safety
Story by 1st Lt. Jean-Scott Dodd
CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — III Marine Expeditionary Force’s major subordinate commands completed a safety stand-down March 29, focusing on key topics determined by III MEF leadership and subordinate commanders.
The III MEF safety office directed the stand-down March 21, with instructions to MSCs to discuss operational risk management, heavy equipment and material handling, off-duty recreational activities and range safety with their Marines and sailors, as well as any other topics commanders deemed relevant, according to Robert Freed, a tactical safety specialist with III MEF.
“It was important for this stand-down to give the subordinate commands some baseline topics to cover while allowing them to use the opportunity to discuss any additional safety-related topics with their Marines and sailors,” said Freed. “The end state was that our Marines and sailors lean forward with safety efforts and planning, so they can accomplish their missions safely on Okinawa and in the Asia-Pacific region.”
III MEF maintains a proactive stance on safety, and has historically mandated operational pauses such as the safety stand-down to discuss recent trends and feedback from throughout III MEF and the Marine Corps, according to Jim Maldonado, safety officer, III MEF.
“III MEF has a culture of safety in all that it does,” said Maldonado. “Whether that is training on Okinawa, going out in town on liberty, or deploying throughout the region to train alongside partner and ally nations, safety of our personnel and those in the communities we train and operate in is always critical.”
Safety is not sacrificed for expediency or convenience in any situation, and all training, exercises and liberty events are reviewed for safety considerations before being approved, according to Freed.
“Through the ORM process and supervision during training and activities, our Marines and sailors, from the junior man or woman involved to the senior enlisted member or officer in charge, ensure they are doing things correctly,” said Freed. “This stand-down addressed some topics that are universal to our operations and served as good refresher training as we move into a busy spring and summer exercise season.”
Col. Daniel J. Haas, chief of staff for III MEF, agreed the stand-down reinforced the importance of safety for Marines during all activities, both on and off duty.
“Marines and sailors are the most important resource we have,” said Haas. “Preserving the force to meet operational requirements is a fundamental leadership responsibility. Constant, deliberate management of risk maximizes safety and ensures we accomplish our mission at the least cost while maintaining the highest possible state of operational readiness.”