View Full Version : Knowledge can have power over life and death

01-07-06, 05:47 PM
Knowledge can have power over life and death
Marine Forces Pacific
Story by:Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Jan. 06, 2006) -- The Marine Corps sustained a jump in motor vehicle-related casualties during the past fiscal year. Sixteen Marines were killed in motor vehicle incidents between Oct. 1 and Nov. 28, 2005, up from 11 fatalities during the same time period last fiscal year, according to the Naval Safety Center.

This hits close to home for Marines from Marine Forces, Pacific. Half of those killed were under this command.

The MARFORPAC incidents included three deaths caused by motorcycles, three in personal vehicles, one in a military vehicle and one pedestrian death.

Though vehicle-related crashes and fatalities have been decreasing in recent years, this year’s spike in casualties shows there is still much more work to be done, according to the Naval Safety Center.

“Right now there is a draft initiative from MARFORPAC to bridge the gap between the military occupational specialty schools and corporals course,” said Keith Glavac, the MARFORPAC ground safety manager. “In between these courses the younger Marines will recieve more education, almost like a lance corporals course.”

The Marines who died in these incidents are not just statistics. They were sons, daughters, moms and dads, and of course, family in the Corps.

Simple educational classes can help reinforce the knowledge that each and every Marine is vital to mission readiness, according to Glavac.

Casualty reports flow in on a regular basis, listing the deaths and injuries of promising Marines whose careers, and more importantly, whose lives are cut short by a simple lack of judgment.

Casualty reports like the one involving a 22-year-old corporal who, after dropping off his father, was killed when he hit a pole while speeding.

He was a veteran of the Global War on Terrorism. He had survived his time in the war zone, only to be killed in a car wreck. As easily as these mistakes can happen, they are just as easily prevented.

“The impact of the losses are devastating, not only to the unit, but the family as well,” said Glavic. “Some of these tragedies cannot be avoided, but most of them can be prevented.”

According to the MARFORPAC safety policy, leadership, education and professional conduct are the benchmarks to keeping Marines alive during times of peace and war. To ensure this, the Corps is constantly evolving their safety programs.

The educational courses that are being made to further educate the Marine Corps’ younger troops will be centered on duty responsibility, conduct and developing a sense of leadership early on.

Leadership throughout the Corps will keep Marines accountable for their actions in and out of uniform.

“We want to create a 24/7 mindset in the Marines, so that their conduct is the same on and off duty,” said Glavac.

Mishaps will happen, but keeping Marines educated and enforcing leadership will keep Marines accountable and help decrease the lapses in judgment.