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C-5M wing stands down for safety review

Col. Thomas K. Smith Jr., 433rd Airlift Wing commander, answers questions from members of the 433rd Operations and Maintenance Groups during a recent one-day operational safety review at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, May 14, 2018. The safety down-day, directed by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein to all Air Force wings with flying and maintenance functions, focused on risk management to prevent future mishaps or unsafe conditions.

Col. Thomas K. Smith Jr., 433rd Airlift Wing commander, answers questions from members of the 433rd Operations and Maintenance Groups during a recent one-day operational safety review at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, May 14, 2018. The safety down-day, directed by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein to all Air Force wings with flying and maintenance functions, focused on risk management to prevent future mishaps or unsafe conditions.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 433rd Maintenance and Operations Groups took a day off from the usual mission of “Fly, Fight, Win” to focus on safety, May 14.

The one-day operational safety review was directed by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein in light of recent aircraft mishaps.

In a video shared to all of the Air Force, Goldfein told members their leadership would guide discussions “to identify gaps and seams that can lead to mishaps or unsafe conditions.”

“Every one of us has a responsibility to identify, assess and mitigate risk,” said Goldfein.

Taking a day to talk about risk management together is a change of pace for the members who usually are busy in their sections supporting the maintenance, logistics, and facilitation of all assigned C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft, and training crew members for those aircraft.

“We have to slow down, do it right, be deliberate and avoid mistakes the first time,” said Col. Charles V. Pratt, 433rd MXG commander. “We do 500 things right a day, and miracles happen on the flight line and back shops every day to make [the mission] happen. It is the one time we overlook the technical order or don’t check the forms that can cause a catastrophic event.”

The two 433rd groups planned the combined safety down-day before it became mandatory.

“That was our own initiative--that we needed to take a step back and look at what we can do better,” said Maj. Samuel P. McAnally, 433rd Airlift Wing chief of safety.

Teamwork enabling success despite strain from the operations tempo, manning, aircraft availability, and mission was a focus of the safety review.

“Whenever an aircraft lifts off, there are a thousand fingerprints all over it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force. “It takes everyone working together to generate air power. We are a nation at war, and we can’t afford to lose a single Airman or aircraft due to a mishap that could have been prevented. ”

With so many members and moving parts supporting the mission of the 433rd AW, there are many opportunities for risk.

“You’re pulling off miracles every day,” said Col. Gregory P. Haynes, 433rd OG commander. “How many times can we afford to get it wrong? We have to remember to be vigilant, because we can’t afford to get it wrong once. We just have to continue to work together so we can be successful.”

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