BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – When it comes to keeping troops motivated about safety, Sgt. Frederick Frink, a site safety noncommissioned officer for the Huntsville, Ala. –based 1151st Engineer Company, Alabama Army National Guard, attached to the Portland, Maine-based 133rd Engineer Battalion, might sometimes break out into a song and dance to keep his unit’s troops engaged during a long safety briefing or crack a few jokes to break up the monotony.
But to hammer home the seriousness of being safe on the job site, Frink said, for every daily brief he always injects real-life stories and experiences about people who failed to follow safety and the consequences of not doing the “right” thing.
As he travels from job site to job site while engineers in his unit perform their mission as part of the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 82nd Sustainment Brigade-U.S. Central Command Materiel Recovery Element, down-sizing and transferring bases through deconstruction projects, Frink keeps a close eye on 1151st troops who work the various deconstruction projects.
“The most important thing is keeping them alert and ensuring they’re wearing their protective gear, inspecting ladders to make sure they’re using three points of contact, making sure they use a harness, checking their tools to ensure they’re in proper working order and there are no frays in the electrical cords,” said Frink, who has spent 12 years in the Army National Guard. “I also ensure that whether it’s very cold or very hot that they’re getting proper work/rest cycles and staying hydrated.”
In addition to site visits, Frink conducts composite risk management verifications to keep track of and mitigate possible risk factors for the engineer projects. As he goes about his job, he always imparts advice to the nearly 60 Soldiers of his unit.
“One of the ways I keep them alert is through giving them a word of the day, such as “common sense” and always tell them to be aware of their surroundings,” said Frink, who hails from Madison, Ala. “I tell them that if you have to ask, then it’s probably not safe, so it’s a good idea to always use their common sense.”
Currently on his first deployment to the combat zone, Frink said his unit’s mission is going smoothly.
“It’s going well,” said Frink. “We’re spending our days tearing down structures taking out electrical and plumbing on the sites and getting metal trusses and tin, making sure re-useable items are sent where they’re needed most.”
“We’ve been keeping on schedule, keeping constant awareness of safety, hauling and busting tail and pretty much knocking each mission out,” added Frink.
When he’s not on the job site after the work day is done, Frink can often be found watching movies, contacting family or just spending time with the troops in his unit.
“These are the ways I beat stress,” said Frink. “I also enjoy keeping people’s morale up, helping them embrace the mission, making them laugh and telling them the importance of checking on their families.”
As for his future, Frink, who works as a security coordinator for a government organization in the civilian world, said he hopes to have a long career in the Army National Guard.
“I really appreciate the opportunity of being a safety NCO, enjoy what I’m doing and I’d like to stay in the military until they decide to kick me out,” said Frink with a laugh. “Eventually, I’d like to achieve the rank of command sergeant major. I’m thinking about 20 years, but I’ve been taking it in ten year increments, so don’t be surprised if I end up doing 30.”
While reflecting on the deployment and his job as a site safety NCO, Frink explained he has one wish for the troops in his unit.
“If our soldiers take anything away from this deployment, it’s my hope that they’ve learned to how to stay safe when they go back to their civilian jobs,” he added.
||BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF
||FAYETTEVILLE, AL, US
||FORT BRAGG, NC, US
||HUNTSVILLE, AL, US
||MADISON, AL, US
||PORTLAND, ME, US
This work, Safety NCO works to keep engineers alert, alive, by SFC Jon Cupp, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.