News: 402nd FA prepares for the upcoming seasons
Story by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Pawlak
FORT BLISS, Texas – Soldiers from 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, First Army Division West, participated in a Safety Stand Down Day at Mitchell W. Stout Gym, Sept. 27.
Soldiers in the unit paused from work for the day to focus on safety training.
Soldiers were taught cold weather safety, home safety, winter driving safety, DUI prevention, .50-caliber safety, suicide prevention, composite risk management, globally harmonized chemical labeling safety, and motorcycle safety.
“The stand down is to get us ready for the fall and winter seasons,” said Col. Carolyn S. Birchfield, commander, 402nd FA. “All of us will learn something today to better prepare us for the upcoming seasons’ training with all the different agencies here today.”
The .50-caliber safety class was added to the stand down this year after an accident here two months ago.
“We are here to lookout for the soldiers and the guys that train our soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Parnello, instructor at safety stand down, 402nd FA. “We want our soldiers to be able to operate the equipment that we utilize in the Army without getting hurt.”
If pre-combat checks are not done every single day, it will be that one time someone will get too relaxed and the gun is going to blow up, said Parnello.
The safety day also gave soldiers a chance to participate in martial arts. Soldiers were given hands-on lessons from Master Sigung Perez of Shaollin Wu Shu Kung Fu. Perez has taught soldiers in the safety stand down for two years.
“The soldiers love us coming over, it gives them something different to do during the stand down,” said Perez. “It’s always fascinating having martial arts to demonstrate some self defense and how to be safe in the sport as well.”
The 402nd’s Safety Stand Down Day provided meaningful and useful information the soldiers could use both on and off duty to help keep them safe during the upcoming seasons.