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127th ARG takes a breath to focus on safety and resilience

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Anrew Schumann
  • 127th Wing

Last month, members of the 127th Wing Air Refueling Group took part in a stand-down day as a way to promote resilience, safety, and unit cohesion. The all-day event took place on Saturday of the October 2022 drill and was attended by officers and enlisted members from the entire group.

“Look at what you have accomplished in support of the national defense strategy and the combatant commanders” said Chief Master Sgt. Rick Gordon, 127th Wing command chief, at the enlisted call-call event.

The challenge to reflect was a reference to the past year of high operations tempo including multiple deployments and large-scale exercises.

Gordon also asked the group, “You have accomplished a lot over the past year, and my question for you is, why do you do it?”

Following separate officer and enlisted meetings, the entire group was briefed by Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, commander of the 127th Wing. Mammen provided a briefing on global emerging threats to build on the importance of service by each Airman.

With a focus on safety, the day’s events combined cohesive unit activities with motivational presentations from 127th Wing leadership. The group was also addressed by Mr. Eric Giguere, a maintenance resource management guest speaker, who delivered the keynote address for the day by recalling a story of survival, and the importance of safety protocols.

“My message to all of you is really pretty simple: Safety is your responsibility,” Giguere said. “I am sure there is a safety organization here, but it is not their job to keep you safe. It is their job to assist you in keeping yourself safe.”

Giguere’s unique presentation, “The Buried Truth,” told the story of how a trench cave-in, following a routine lapse in safety precautions, nearly cost him his life, and forever changed his family.

“I’m the guy that was never too concerned with safety, that believed an accident could never happen to me, and was always willing to jump in and get the job done no matter what,” Giguere told the audience. “Because of that, I am very lucky to be alive today.”

Prior to the keynote presentation, Col. Leah Voelker, commander of the 127th Air Refueling Group, addressed the unit on the importance of why risks must be looked for and calculated as part of the workload.

“It is very important that we are good at our jobs and understand why we do what we do, so that when we need to deviate from a plan we are being smart about it,” Voelker said. “This is why safety is something that we need to continuously consider.”