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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
Marine Corps aviation: Still safe, now even safer

By Lance Cpl. Claudio A. Martinez | | October 21, 2010

Fiscal year 2010 was recognized as the safest year on record for Marine Corps aviation Oct. 1.

FY10 documented four Class A flight mishaps, which is an improvement from last year’s record-setting performance.

The accomplishment continues a six-year trend, which started in 2005 when the reduction in Marine Corps aviation mishaps first began.

According to All Marine Corps Activities 035/10, issued by Gen. James F. Amos when he was the Marine Corps assistant commandant, this historical trend is even more noteworthy as it occurred during a time when Marine aviation is supporting combat operations in two theaters while undergoing extensive platform transitions in the fleet.

The number of how many Class A, B or C flight mishaps occur during a fiscal year is looked at to determine how safe the year was.

The Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned safety corner defines Class A mishaps as the resulting total cost of damages to Department of Defense property in an amount of $1 million or more.

A Class A mishap also includes an injury or occupational illness resulting in fatality or total disability.

A Class B mishap is defined as the resulting total cost of damages to DOD property $200,000 or more, but less than $1 million.

Class B mishaps also include injury or occupational illness resulting in permanent partial disability, or when three or more personnel are hospitalized for inpatient care as a result of a single mishap.

MCCLL defines Class C mishaps as the resulting total cost of damages to DoD property $20,000 or more, but less than $200,000.

Also falling under Class C mishaps are nonfatal injuries that cause loss of time from work beyond the day or shift on which it occurred or a nonfatal occupational illness that causes loss of time from work to include disability.

Amos said in ALMAR 035/10 that this year’s achievement serves as a milestone and not a culmination as Marine Corps aviation continues to move toward its goal of zero preventable Class A, B or C mishaps.

The ALMAR also reads that Marine Corps aviation must continue to improve its progress toward a zero-mishap environment by cultivating processes, which make high standards of safety an integral part of its everyday culture.

Many of the unit safety officers agree with the thoughts expressed in ALMAR 035/10.

“There are always improvements that can be made in any program, in any application,” said Maj. Edward Bahret, Marine Aircraft Group 12 director of safety and standardization. “To say we just need something different to affect another radical change in our numbers — improvement is the key word, not just change. We need to actively pursue the same goals that we used to attain this (achievement).”

Bahret said he believed Marine Corps aviation will continue to do its best to meet the goal by aggressively pursuing the safest ways in aviation through training and successful implementation of that training.

Records used for historical comparison for Marine Corps Aviation safety statistics run from 1981 to present.