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RAFB gets 'excellent' safety rating

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Thursday, Dec 15, 2011

Base gets ‘excellent’ safety rating


WARNER ROBINS -- The evidence is mounting that things have changed dramatically at Robins Air Force Base in the past year.

Last week, a team of 65 inspectors from Air Force Materiel Command, the base’s parent agency, probed through maintenance shops and other work areas, closely examining a range of functions to determine how well the base is doing in safety, quality and efficiency.

The verdict announced Monday was “excellent.”

That was particularly satisfying for base leaders, considering that in the same inspection in 2009 the base rated only “satisfactory” and in 2007 it scored “marginal.” The “excellent” rating is second only to “outstanding.”

The inspection looked at areas across the base but put a strong focus the 402nd Maintenance Wing, which has nearly 9,000 employees. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, the 78th Air Base Wing and the 638th Supply Chain Management Group were all individually given ratings of “excellent.”

Col. Evan Miller, 402nd Maintenance commander, said the inspection is confirmation that things have changed in the wing. In a year, the wing has gone from delivering less than half of its aircraft on time to a perfect on-time delivery record since Oct. 1. Also, a year ago, the base was hit with 39 citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and now has resolved all of those issues and is looked at as a model for safety, Miller said.

“All told it was a great bill of health and was really an example of great teamwork,” he said.

The inspection is done through the Logistics Compliance Assessment Program. For the first time it was done in conjunction with the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program inspection, which looked at certain functions of the 78th Air Base Wing. In that inspection, the only result is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, and the unit received a satisfactory, said Col. Mitchel Butikofer, 78th Air Base Wing commander.

Bonnie Jones, director of the 638th Supply Chain Management Group, credited progress at Robins to the team approach encouraged by Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander.

Producing aircraft on-time takes coordination between many units, Jones said, and those units are working together better now than ever before. They refer to it as “horizontal integration.”

And, she points out, her command is at Tinker Air Force Base, so McMahon is not her boss.

“I can tell you under his leadership, the way we do horizontal integration is unlike any other I’ve ever seen,” she said. ”In my whole 30 years here, I have never seen where everybody puts aside personal agendas to just focus on getting the job done. Gen. McMahon is the one who, in my view, has turned it around.”

According to a base release, when the lead inspector announced the findings to a packed audience Monday, he was effusive in his praise.

“Wow,” is how Timothy Gray, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command inspector general was quoted in the release. “That was phenomenal. You should all be proud of how far you have come in the last few years with your compliance, your programs and your integration. I am totally blown away.”

McMahon also spoke to those gathered at the briefing. According to the release, he said, “In over 33 years of serving our nation, I have never been more proud of an entire team who have gathered together, who have worked through some of the toughest conditions, and have demonstrated to this command, to our Air Force, to our (Department of Defense), just how good we really are. I would be happy to go to war with you at any time.”



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