Secretary of the Navy, Dr. Donald C. Winter presents
the Department of the Navy 2006 Safety Excellence Award for Marine Corps ground safety to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune at the Navy Memorial. During the ceremony, Winter discussed the importance of personal responsibility in regard to safety, and he stressed the need for the Navy and Marine Corps to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents. Sixteen Safety Excellence Awards were presented to the top Navy and Marine Corps commands that demonstrated extraordinary excellence by sustained mission success with simultaneous exemplary safety performance. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brandan W. Schulze
With a focus on building a sound safety culture throughout the fleet, 19 Navy and Marine Corps commands were honored Sept. 14 at the fifth annual Department of the Navy 2006 Safety Excellence Awards at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“These award winners have demonstrated sustained operational excellence, combining exceptional mission success with simultaneous exemplary safety performance,” said Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. “The safety of our equipment and preservation of the lives of our people are absolutely vital to the successful accomplishment of our mission.”
The primary awards categories include safety ashore, safety shipboard, Marine Corps ground safety, aviation safety, and Military Sealift Command safety.
This year’s safety winners included Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility; Naval Air Station Jacksonville; USS Kearsarge (LHD 3); USS Mobile Bay (CG 53); USS Germantown (LSD 42); USS Frank Cable (AS 40); MHC Crew Aggressive; USS Kentucky (Blue) (SSBN 737); Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192; Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadrons 369 and 773; Training Squadron (VT) 35; Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 53; and USNS Zeus (T-ARC 7).
“Building a culture of safety takes time and requires a steadfast commitment,” Winter explained. “The commands represented by today’s award recipients have accepted this challenge and, through innovative and unyielding measures, have contributed to the safety record of a military with an extremely high operational tempo.”
The awards ceremony also included special recognition for additional Navy and Marine Corps activities, including OHIO-Class SSGN System Safety Integrated Product Team for excellence in safety in acquisition; Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One for innovation in safety; Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility for OSHA voluntary protection program star status; and Ms. Linda Biggs of Navy Region Hawaii for special recognition for individual achievement in the prevention of private motor vehicle mishaps.
“These successes are in no small measure due to organizational cultures in which adherence to prescribed safety guidelines is integral to all activities,” said Winter.
Common traits noted by Winter among this year’s recipients include proactive involvement by safety professionals and command leadership; effective application of Operational Risk Management principles both on- and off-duty; and a command culture in which personnel assume responsibility for doing what is right, even when that path is not easy to take.
During the ceremony, Winter cited one particular area he considers of great concern – that the Personal Motor Vehicle (PMV) fatality rate is unacceptable.
“We are losing too many Sailors and Marines to traffic accidents on our roads and highways,” Winter said. “To address this unsatisfactory situation, we must increase our efforts in training, education, and counseling.”
“Finding more effective ways to raise awareness and conduct safety training is necessary … the solution lies in the culture and habits of Sailors and Marines,” Winter continued.
“Responsible behavior is at the root of the problem, and leading young people into a lifestyle that avoids irresponsible behaviors – whether driving too fast, too recklessly, or under the influence of alcohol – is our challenge.”
Secretary Winter noted that he will continue to make this particular area of safety a priority, insisting on achieving better results.
“Safety is an all-hands effort,” Winter concluded. “By recognizing the importance of having ‘buy-in’ and participation from every member of the command, the safety program becomes part of the command culture, everyone’s responsibility, everyone’s protection, and everyone’s pride.”
Highlighting the importance of safety in the sea services, the ceremony was conducted and attended by several senior leaders, including Secretary Winter; the Honorable BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment; the Honorable Tom Rollow, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Safety; Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, director of Navy staff
; and Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Johnson, deputy commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.