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PA National Guard Hosts a First of its Kind Health and Safety Event

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hoover
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing

The 171st Air Refueling Wing in conjunction with the Pennsylvania National Guard hosted a joint, Army and Air Health and Safety event at the Pittsburgh-based Air National Guard installation on May 26, 2022. Members from western Pennsylvania Army Guardsmen spent the day alongside Air Guardsmen receiving health and safety training from various off-base entities spread throughout the 171st ARW dining facility.

The event was organized by LTC Deborah Fisher, the Pennsylvania Joint Forces Headquarters Safety and Occupational Health Manager and Lt. Col. Shaun McRoberts, the Chief of 171 ARW Safety and the Department of Military Veterans affairs State Safety Office. Fisher has hosted similar events at Fort Indiantown Gap but worked with McRoberts to bring this event style of health and safety to the western side of Pennsylvania.

All Guardsmen received a registration gift for their attendance. There were door prizes, multiple distracted driver simulators, fire extinguisher training simulations and a motorcycle safety foundation refresher training course with a certified MSF instructor.

McRoberts explained how exciting it was to have a certified MSF instructor at the event. “Military members who ride motorcycles are required to complete motorcycle safety refresher training at least once every five years.  The safety courses in our region that are open to the general public are somewhat limited and often fill up quickly.  Hosting a refresher course at our unit provides our members and local Army Guardsmen an additional opportunity not only to complete the required training, but also to develop rider skills, enhance rider safety, and cultivate a network of fellow military riders in our region.” Tech. Sgt. Grant Lion, a Pennsylvania Air National Guardsman assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing provided the MSF refresher course for the first time at the 171st.

Pennsylvania National Guardsman, Brig. Gen. John Pippy, Land Component Commander and Deputy Chief of Engineers for National Guard Affairs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters, provided a short briefing commending all of the units across the commonwealth for their safety reports and delivered a summer safety briefing.

Pippy also presented awards to the following ground maintenance facilities for their accomplishments spanning up to five straight years of operation without a recorded injury in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations:  Combined Support Maintenance Shop - West, located in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, Combined Support Maintenance Shop - Annex 11, located in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and Combined Support Maintenance Shop - Annex 22, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Maintaining a high level of safety is one of the National Guards' highest priorities. “As our unit’s high operational tempo endures and we endlessly persevere from one exercise, inspection, and deployment cycle to the next, it is important to occasionally take pause and shift the focus to the health and safety of our Airmen,” said McRoberts. “Health and Safety Awareness Day provides a forum to recognize, reflect upon, and improve individual and organizational health and safety.  The resources and training provided throughout the day aim’s to better prepare our Airmen to effectively complete the mission while sustaining the units outstanding 63-year safety record.”