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San Diego Squadrons Participate in Mandatory Stand Down

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060315-11
Release Date: 3/15/2006 12:05:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Susan Van Veen, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Squadrons at Naval Air Station North Island participated in a safety stand down as part of a Navywide aviation safety stand down ordered by Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. Jim Zortman in March.

A safety stand down is a thorough review of the operating environment, operational tempo, standard operating procedures, maintenance material condition, and personal stressors. The stand down was ordered March 3 and must have been conducted by all non-deployed squadrons no later than March 10.

“I’m directing this stand down in the wake of a series of aviation mishaps that have occurred over the past two months. While no single factor can be attributed to these incidents, it’s important that we stop our daily training and thoroughly review our procedures and the risks of the environment in which we operate,” Zortman said.

Local squadrons know the importance of safety and believe periodic stand downs are a good idea.

Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 8, which held its stand down March 9, gave safety training in all of its work centers.

“We will be focusing on what we do right to keep ourselves safe,” said Cmdr. Larry Vincent, executive officer of HS-8. “We’ll also be looking down the road for any risks we can identify that might cause us to have a mishap of any type. We’re doing this at every level and in every work center. We’re taking a holistic approach, looking at ways to keep our Sailors safe in their personal and Navy lives.”

Sea Control Squadron (VS) 41, scheduled to be disestablished in September 2006, held its stand down March 10 at the Naval Amphibious Base Theatre.

“Each of our petty officers talked about the challenges we face as we head toward disestablishment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Damon Nolting, VS-41’s safety officer. “We also talked about class 'alpha' mishaps and motorcycle safety.”

So far in fiscal year 2006, the Navy has experienced nine class “A” mishaps. A class “A” mishap means a loss of aircraft, greater than $1 million in damage, loss of life, or causing a permanent disability.

“While we’re almost exactly where we were at this time last year, it is important that we halt this trend of the past two months, and that’s why I’ve directed this stand down," Zortman said. "Accomplishing the mission and returning home safely remain our priorities. We continue to be the best-trained, most qualified war-fighting aviators in the world. I want to ensure we’re focusing on the fundamentals, which are key to achieving success."

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