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8 FW, ROKAF reach safety milestones

April 16, 2008 (by SSgt. Araceli Alarcon) - Recently both the 8th Fighter Wing and the Republic of Korea's 111th Fighter Squadron received safety awards for having outstanding safety records.

Pilots from the 35th FS fly a training mission over the South Korean peninsula on January 30th, 2008.

The 111th FS received their award for having 40,000 flying hours with zero mishaps here Apr 4th.

The 111th FS achieved this record on March 12, when Lt. Col. Jong -Pil Lim, 111th FS commander and his co-pilot Captain Hyuk-Ryul Kwon landed safely on the runway that evening. This record is an accumulation of safe flying hours from June 18, 1995 to March 12, 2008, approximately a 13 year time period.

Colonel Lim expressed his thanks for the hard work of the ROK Airmen that helped to achieve this goal.

"This Record was possible thanks to the devoted contribution of pilots, maintenance and munitions crews," he said.

Since January 2007, the 111th FS went from operating the F-5E/F aircraft to the KF-16 aircraft. The change in aircraft didn't stop the 111th FS from accomplishing their safe record.

Colonel Lim said he would continue to do his best in keeping the record of safe flying hours and defending the ROK airspace.

The 8th FW and the 111th FS both understand the importance of safety in day-to-day operations. Working together in combined operations to help defend the base creates strong bonds with ROK and Kunsan Airmen.

Along with the 111th FS, the 8th Fighter Wing also received two safety awards in March, the Colombian Trophy and the Ground Safety Plaque.

The Colombian Trophy recognizes military flight safety achievements for fighter, attack, bomber and reconnaissance units below the numbered Air Force level whose primary mission is operational, said Lt. Col. Steve Kennel, 8th Fighter Wing Safety commander.

Some of the programs that helped win the Colombian Trophy was the safety record of 10,933 flying hours and 8,377 sorties in fiscal year 2007 with zero Class A or B safety mishaps. Class A mishaps classify as reportable damage of one million dollars or more, a fatality or permanent disability of individuals or the destruction of a U.S. Air Force aircraft. Class B mishaps classify as reportable damage of 200,000 dollars or more, but less than one million dollars, individuals facing a permanent partial disability or inpatient hospitalization of three or more individuals.

Colonel Kennel said these actions represent the collective efforts of all personnel assigned to the Wolf Pack.

"All of Kunsan's Airmen played a role in this award," he said "Disciplined execution of the mission from the fighter pilots who fly their machines to the maintainers who prepare them through the ranks."

The Ground Safety Plague recognizes outstanding achievement in or contributing to ground safety. Also specific unit mishap prevention programs, events, local partnerships and other activities accomplished during the award year were reviewed.

Ground Safety managed Air Force Occupational and Health programs of 2,800 personnel with almost 100 percent annual turnover rate and more than 500 host nation civilian employees. The efforts resulted in a 32 percent reduction in reportable mishap rates over fiscal year 2006 as well as a 23 percent reduction in non-reportable mishaps rates with zero Class A or B mishaps.

"The Ground Safety Plaque is indicative of a safety culture in the Wolf Pack where we look out for each other," said Colonel Kennel "Because every member of the Wolf Pack is critical to our mission."

Colonel CQ "Wolf" Brown, 8th Fighter Wing commander agreed that the safety award was the result of a total team effort and encouraged the Wolf Pack to continue to apply safety practices at their work centers.

"This Colombian Trophy is just another representation of the dedication and hard work the men and women of the Wolf Pack bring to the mission here everyday," he said. "I encourage everyone to keep up the good work and continue to put safety first in executing the mission because we can't afford losses associated with mishaps."

It's not only the members of the Wolf Pack paying attention to detail and ensuring safe practices. Members of the RoKAF ensure putting safety first into what they do every day, making the entire base here at Kunsan a safe place to be.

Courtesy of 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs