The Marines of Marine
Medium Helicopter Squadron-265 (Reinforced), currently attached to
the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, celebrated 60,000 flight hours
without a Class-A mishap with an award presentation and
cake-cutting ceremony Jan. 5.
A Class-A mishap is any incident that results in death or
monetary damage equal to or more than $1 million, according to Maj.
Paul M. Riegert, director of safety and standardization for HMM-265
(REIN), also known as the Dragons.
The 15-year journey to 60,000 hours began May 31, 1989 when the
Dragons experienced their last Class-A mishap. Since then, they
have used many methods to prevent mishaps and implement safety
One way the Dragons exercise safety is by using Operational Risk
Management (ORM). The five-step ORM process includes identifying
hazards, assessing hazards, making risk decisions, implementing
controls, and supervising any hazardous situations to make
the workplace a safer environment.
"The Dragons firmly adhere to ORM on a daily basis and have even
created their own ORM video to educate their Marines," Riegert
The Dragons have taken safety yet a step further by assigning
every Marine as a safety officer. This means every Marine is
responsible for safety for himself and his fellow Marines.
According to Lt. Col. Matthew "Jerry" Glavy, commanding officer,
HMM-265, each Marine takes pride in his job and a critical part of
this is being safe.
"Fixing airplanes, flying airplanes and promoting Marines are
the three most important things we do in this squadron," the
Buffalo, N.Y. native said. "We do those things well because of the
best Staff (noncommissioned officer) leadership in the Marine
Corps, and the lance corporals keep score. The lance corporals and
corporals are just as concerned about safety and readiness as the
commanding officer and sergeant major."
Glavy said the Marines accomplish their mission of fixing and
flying airplanes correctly everyday. He also noted that the daily
achievement of this mission is the only way to accomplish 60,000
safe flight hours.
"This milestone is just coincidental to every Marine doing his
daily job. Every Marine can go home at night and go to bed proud
because he knows he did his job correctly," Glavy said. "Then he
wakes up the next morning humble and hungry for the jobs that
The 60,000 hours have taken the Dragons to many places while
both embarked with the MEU and during self-deployed missions over
the course of 15 years. From the Middle East to the Philippines and
literally around the world, they have proved they can accomplish
any mission both safely and proficiently.
The 60,000-hour mark was achieved Nov. 2, 2003 while a CH46-E
was flying a Civil Military Operation mission over East Timor. Now
that they have reached 60,000 hours, Riegert said they look forward
to safely reaching 65,000.
"Our job isn't just to be safe, it is to be combat ready," the
Alexandria, Va., native said. "Combat readiness is the product of
focused training and aggressive ORM."
As of Jan.7, the Dragons have accumulated 60,642.6 Class-A
mishap free hours, and continue to serve proudly as the Aviation
Combat Element for the 31st MEU. [ANN Thanks Sgt. Danny L.