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Safety is continuous mindset

22 Mar 2005 | Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

For three days Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, held meetings on different safety concerns around their living area and other areas of Camp Fallujah March 22 through the 24 to help eliminate preventable accidents.

Weapons handling, weapons maintenance, hygiene habits, use of supplements, personnel accountability, vehicle driving and ground guiding were some of topics discussed. During the three days, troops attended classes by a number of instructors and subject matter experts.

"With new policies coming out, the class is a way to get everyone up to speed on the current and up-to-date information," explained 1st Lt. Daniel J. Nilsson, Headquarters and Service Company Commander and St. Paul, Minn., native.

The weapons handling and maintenance class allowed the Marines to refresh themselves with weapons safety and the proper way to clean them while in an arid, desert climate.

"We are going back and mentally checking our knowledge and understanding of the weapons systems and how we properly clean them," explained Nilsson.

Like maintaining a personal weapon, each Marine must maintain his health to stay safe in a combat environment.  Some Marines take diet supplements to aid in performance while working out at the gym. To educate Marines about these supplements, corpsmen explained the risks of taking certain supplements as well as taking too much. 

"We have many challenges while in combat, and we don't want to fight sickness and unhealthiness when we are out there," he said.

Another vital part to mission accomplishment is accountability of men, weapons and equipment.  This is everyone's responsibility from small unit leaders to commanding officers.

Not only are all Marines responsible for accountability, they are also responsible for safety. Top on the list of safety issues discussed was safe driving. It was reiterated that it is something practiced not only at home, but also while deployed in Iraq.   

Even with a well-maintained vehicle you can find yourself in an unsafe operating environment. One standard practice to help prevent vehicle accidents is using ground guides in certain congested areas. 

"Doing pre-combat checks, continuing preventative maintenance and maintaining accountability of gear and vehicles benefits all of us by helping prevent injuries and save lives," he stated.

Safety stand-downs, like this one, ensure Marines are aware of and prepared to deal with safety issues while here conducting counter-insurgency operations as a part of the Global War on Terrorism.