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Alfonso Vasquez, a tactical safety specialist with Base Safety and Environmental, 1st Marine Logistics Group, explains the upcoming obstacle to the all terrain vehicle operators during their training course at the base's ATV driving lot. Vasquez and Petty Officer 3rd Class Dexter M. Cubol took seven Marines through the course March 14. The course is designed to familiarize them with the machines and their capabilities to reduce the amount of accidents involved with them at Camp at-Taqaddum.

Photo by Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

Base in safe and capable hands

28 Mar 2008 | Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

The management and control of safety throughout the entire 1st Marine Logistics Group rests in the hands of seven capable individuals.

“Not only are we responsible for Camp Taqaddum, but we’re responsible for Habbaniyah also,” said Sgt. Julian E. Dioulo, safety environmental specialist with Base Safety and Environmental, 1st MLG. Dioulo also pointed out that all units on base, civilian or military, fall under their watch.

Their area of responsibility covers all units within the 1st MLG, regardless of where they are stationed. All mishap reports from units at Fallujah, al Asad, and other bases in Anbar province all come to Lt. Cmdr. Dan S. Ratican’s shop.

The team of seven brought with them more than 60 years of experience and approached their deployment head on, already making changes to keep people under their watch safer.

Within their first week here, they did an initial survey to look for areas that needed improvement. For example, new road signs, reflectors and other basic traffic safety elements have since been installed.

On the environmental side, they have started to clean up and organize their hazardous material lots and dumps, and they began removing their environmentally unsound items.

Along with the general upkeep, new rules are also being introduced and enforced.

“The point of most contention on base is the all-terrain vehicle policy,” pointed out Ratican, who is revamping the current set of rules for the multi-purpose vehicles frequently used by service members on base.

The vehicles are useful but due to their small size, they present many limitations. Base Safety currently has a course set up that trains service members to train their own units how to operate them safely.

“To eliminate the problem and to better educate those using the ATVs, they have to get a feel for the vehicle so when they drive it, they know how the vehicle actually feels on the road,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Dexter M. Cubol, from Yigo, Guam.

Many units around base have already completed Base Safety’s course, which trains Marines, sailors and soldiers in familiarizing themselves with the machines. The course also qualifies graduates to train service members in their own units on how to safely and properly use the machines that are frequently used around base.

“If you get inexperienced ATV drivers that just jump on and then take a corner too sharp and roll it, where was the training to prevent that? That’s where we come in, to teach the safest ways to use them,” said Cpl. Dustin H. Dean, safety noncommissioned officer, 1st Supply Bn., 1st MLG, from Mt. Airy, N.C.

With all they do for people’s safety, they are not always viewed in the most positive light, noted Alfonso Vasquez, tactical safety specialist, with 1st MLG.

“We’re here for them,” said Vasquez, a retired Marine first sergeant now serving as a civilian and deployed from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to provide his expertise on safety related issues.

Their number one priority is to help keep everyone safe and environmentally sound.

“It’s busy,” said Ratican, from Anderson, Ind. “We definitely have a lot on our plate but it makes it nice to always have something to do.”

Their sometimes overwhelming mission is not a problem for the team who sees the constant activity as a way to make the time pass faster. They’re starting off 1st MLG’s year on a good foot, ready to face anything.

“It’s not a problem,” said Dioulo, from Marietta, Ga. “We can handle it.”

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