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Air Force safety chief visits Maxwell
By Carl Bergquist, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published February 13, 2009
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Following a speech to more than 80 future Air Force commanders at Air University, the Air Force Safety chief paid the 42nd Air Base Wing Safety office a visit Feb. 5.
Maj. Gen. Frederick Roggero, who has only been in his new position for a month, received a briefing from Roger Anderson, 42nd ABW chief of safety, about what the office does for the base. Mr. Anderson explained to the general that the safety office handles not just the wing but also Air University and works with all other base tenants, contractors and organizations.
Topics that came up during the briefing included safety programs for the Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments; motorcycle and sports bike safety; training safety; and flight, ground, traffic and weapons safety.
At the conclusion of the briefing, General Roggero complimented the safety office on a job well done and told office members that anything they can do to identify hazards and risk is great, and goes along way toward keeping the Air Force safer.
"Thank you for what you do," he said. "Last year Air Force losses were more than $3.1 million per day due to mishaps. For a safety office, your greatest stories are the ones that don't get told because they involve mishaps you prevented. Keep your focus on the leading edge of saving lives."
The general said he had four priorities for his new job as Air Force chief of safety.
The first, and number one, priority is nuclear surety.
"Nuclear surety is the center piece for reorganizing the nuclear enterprise, and Air Force safety has the responsibility to strengthen policies and to be sure we have the right policies," he said.
General Roggero said his second priority is saving Airmen's lives.
"I want to place a high emphasis on motor vehicle accidents," he said. "This year, we have had 140 percent more fatalities than last year, and that clearly means we are going in the wrong direction and must turn around," he said.
The general said his third priority involves safety concerning the unmanned aerial system program.
"We need as many UASs flying as possible to help preserve our combat capability, but we must ensure we operate them safely," he said. "While they are unmanned vehicles, if the man-machine interface is not right, things can go wrong. We must have safety built into that program. Also, we must be able to do accident investigations in combat zones without interfering with the combat mission."
General Roggero said his fourth priority is a tragic topic that needs to be addressed in earnest, and that is Airman suicides.
"I will team with the Air Force Surgeon General and assist him in coming up with ways to prevent suicides," he said. "We have the tools to track the incidents which should help in this prevention."
The general said he told the group of future commanders that safety is a leadership issue as much as it is a program, and if people do the right things for the right reasons, safety will result. He said commanders need to know how to mitigate threats to their people and still be successful.
"Eighty percent of the job in safety is communication," he said. "Getting the word out to Airmen will contribute to our safety goals. Also, the wingman program is an important tool. A survey showed that 75 percent of Airmen will better respond to suggestions from their wingman that from anyone else. As a wingman, you might make a difference in someone's life."
General Roggero said he was "very impressed" with the span of responsibility the 42nd ABW Safety office manages, and the assistance the organization gives the entire Maxwell-Gunter community.
"The vast support given to Air University, the base, ROTC detachments and tenant units, and to be able to do it successfully, is great," he said. "I think results show that members of the 42nd ABW Safety office are getting the job done."
The general said he is "very excited" to be heading up Air Force safety, as safety reaches every part of the Air Force.
"If I can save just one Airman's life, all the effort it takes is worth it," General Roggero said. "But, I hope I will be able to save many more lives as well."