MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA --
Transport Squadron 1 was recognized by the Naval Safety Center for surpassing
250,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours in October at Marine Corps Air Station
51 years of flying, the VMR-1 “Roadrunners” celebrated as they achieved a
safety milestone that few squadrons accomplish.
Class A mishap refers to an incident with more than $2 million in damage, there
is complete destruction of an aircraft, or a fatality or permanent total
disability occurs, explained Capt.
Richard Hill, the UC-35 NATOPS officer.
“A big contributor to the
accomplishment of the mishap-free flight hours is the quality of the
maintenance that we perform on our aircraft,” said Hill.
The maintenance team responsible
for working on the squadron’s UC-35D Cessna, two C-9B Skytrains, and the
recently retired HH-46E Seaknights are all Marines, explained Hill.
“We are given fairly dynamic and
high risk missions at times,” said Hill. “Having an all-Marine maintenance team
gave us a lot of organic experience on how to maintain the HH-46E and other
aircraft which materially contributed to our success and continued safety with
According to Hill, the squadron
has been successful with mishap-free flight hours because of a combination of
the command climate and well-tested aircraft.
“It’s about the basics,”
explained Lt. Col. Thomas Bedell, commanding officer of the squadron. “We must
remain focused on professionalism.”
According to Bedell, his Marines
deliberately get it right the first time and pass down achieved milestones through
several generations of Marines to continue applying safety precautions so the
success can endure.
The 250,000-hour milestone, can
be attributed to three main things, explained Hill.
“First, solid maintenance
practices which produce a safer work environment without the need to worry
about material defect,” said Hill. “Second is career resource management, and
third is our robust training program. By utilizing these practices, everyone
knows their responsibilities and have all the knowledge and capability they
need to safely execute their mission.”
Each Marine in the squadron knows
what is expected of them which leads to an end state of VMR-1 having a safer
environment, said Bedell.
“I feel extremely happy to have
been able to contribute to reaching this milestone, even just with my small
portion of flight hours. It is a testament to the organizational culture of the
unit,” said Bedell.
By consistently maintaining high
standards, VMR-1 displays a culture of excellence by remaining upbeat, even
when faced with challenges, and consistently rises to the occasion to ensure
mission accomplishment, explained Bedell.
According to Bedell, consistently
maintaining high standards and adhering to safety regulations in an aviation
environment are essential.
“Whether it is maintenance or a
changing timeline, there are so many unknowns in the aviation environment that
we need to maintain a level of consistency,” said Bedell.
Communication and a quality
training program being administered by engaged leaders within VMR-1 helps the
Marines become better educated, which leads to more success.
“My goal is to have every Marine
in the squadron be a better Marine and a better person for having served in the
Marine Corps and in my unit,” said Bedell. “It is a sacred responsibility as a commander;
you are a steward of that squadron’s legacy to maintain, add to and improve the
squadron’s representation. This is a whole team effort, this unit maintains
aircraft, provides administration, supply, support and various other elements,
and without these Marines and our civilian Marines, it would not be possible to
accomplish our mission.”