Gen Henry H. “Hap” Arnold
By MR. MONTE NACE, Staff Writer
In the United States, diamonds typically symbolize a 75th anniversary. They are also one of the toughest materials on the planet. Geologists believe diamonds first formed deep below Earth’s surface millions of years ago, where the gemstones remained until volcanic eruptions forced them out.
DID YOU KNOW?The Mobility Forum, much like the Army Air Force publication, has a long history of promoting ground safety. It began as The MATS Flyer [Military Air Transport Service] magazine 64 years ago, transitioned to The MAC Flyer [Military Airlift Command] in 1966, and still strives to deliver the same vital message today.Similarly, America’s military history is an enduring reminder of this nation’s toughness. We did not get here on a whim. Rather, our willingness to grow and change, even as we remain steadfast in our core values, is a shining example of “going the distance” and proudly getting the job done.
Ground Safety, which is a big part of that effort, celebrates its 75th anniversary in December. It began when Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, a three-star general in the U.S. Army, visited hospitalized crews in North Africa in 1943. He was surprised to see so many injured pilots and even more surprised to hear how the accidents happened. One said he was there due to a jeep rollover. Another had also suffered a jeep accident; this one from taking a corner too fast. And so it went—with pilot after pilot detailing incidents that happened on the ground instead of on planes!
Realizing the impact that preserving lives had on mission capability, Gen Arnold ultimately established Ground Safety in December 1943 and appointed Lt Col William Tubbs as its chief. The April 1945 edition of the Army Air Force’s safety publication read:
“The primary purpose of Ground Safety in the Army Air Forces is to conserve personnel for the job of winning the war. The function of the Ground Safety Division … is to organize, coordinate, and stimulate a safety program which applies everywhere except in the operation of aircraft.”
Back then, the safety focus was on shops, flight lines, and automobiles; aircraft, and motor vehicle maintenance; and traffic safety education. That hasn’t changed much, nor has Ground Safety’s basic mission: preserving life and combat capability through mishap prevention. The most notable difference is how safety messages travel. We have gone from letters, meetings, and briefings to constant and instant communication via emails, social media, and other tools.
Congratulations to Ground Safety professionals who continually develop and deliver impactful programs and relevant messages that resonate with Airmen. Doing that for one year would be a great achievement. Doing it for 75 years is the epitome of accomplishment!