Face of Safety: OSMs assist Airmen pushing combat capabilities
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 11, 2016
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE
Those three words have blared across Osan Air Base day and night throughout the past four days and nights.
Members of Team Osan are participating in combat readiness exercise Beverly Midnight 16-01 with aircraft combat sorties, base defense missions and logistical operations, all of which are being faced and conquered almost hourly.
One Airman in particular believes performing all these tasks and responsibilities safely may just be the most important of all.
“We’ve all heard the horror stories about serious injuries, property damage or even loss of life during exercises,” said Senior Master Sgt. Sean Rouillier, 51st Fighter Wing superintendent of safety. “As warriors here at Osan, we train to fight tonight, and that degree of combat readiness gives everyone an increased sense of urgency.”
The main goal of the base safety office is eliminating the myriad of problems which can occur due to the added stresses of an exercise.
“During exercises, our role mirrors our day-to-day operations of ensuring Airmen are properly managing risks and performing their duties as safely as possible,” said Rouillier.
According to Rouillier, a Crystal River, Florida native, the main aspect of safety’s role is being able to get out, communicate with Airmen, and ask questions about their jobs and well-being.
“We want to identify fatigued or overwhelmed members before they make that wrong move and become a statistic,” he continued.
Occupational safety members are responsible for educating, inspecting and advising senior leaders on risk mitigation strategies during both peace and wartime.
“Many people do not realize that there are deployed safety professionals across the globe in constant rotations, requested by commanders at all levels, which maximizes mission effectiveness,” said Master Sgt. Shane Christian, 51st FW occupational safety manager and Lone Grove, Oklahoma native. “During exercises, we must have a presence on the flightline because Airmen see us and perform with higher levels of safety awareness.
“We understand how busy and tired they are; we were in their shoes a while ago, so if our presence helps to further the mission safely then everyone wins,” he continued.
During normal operations, wing safety provides consultation services, compliance inspections, education and training, program management and risk management advisement to all units assigned to Team Osan.
“We are all warriors, required to possess combat skills, and cannot avoid risk completely whether during exercises or normal operations,” said Rouillier. “We can however, avoid unnecessary risks and still win the fight. Our main goal for this exercise (and all exercises) is to have zero preventable mishaps. Our team has been safely performing combat operations on the ground and in the sky with exceptional skill and expertise.”