Back to the Basics

117 Maintenance Group patch

117 Maintenance Group patch


When I played football in high school our head coach always wanted to focus on the basics of blocking and tackling early in the week, leading up to the game on Friday night.  He knew that we could never be our best or be able to execute the game plan that we wanted to unless we first focused on the basics.  

Gen. Rice, the Director of the Air National Guard, recently sent out a letter to all of the Adjutant Generals. It asked us to improve the maintenance culture across the Air National Guard by getting back to the basics to enhance safety for our airmen and our equipment.  Getting back to the basics for maintenance primarily includes forms documentation, technical order compliance, and tool control.  For you and your shop, it may be something totally different.

According to Col. Allison Miller, the Director of Safety for the Air National Guard, in fiscal year 2016 the ANG flew 290,630 flying hours. That’s a lot of flying hours in which, most of the time, things went well. However, according to Miller, during the same time frame there was an average of five mishaps per day resulting in the loss of four airmen in duty mishaps, 3,539 lost workdays, and a total cost of $1.4 billion in ANG assets lost. Miller is currently promoting a proactive safety culture with the goal of eliminating, or at least mitigating these types of losses.

Rice and Miller both know that our mission is never without risk, whether in maintenance or any other area.  Instead, they want to minimize and eliminate unnecessary hazards to our Airmen.  So whether you turn a wrench in maintenance, pull a fuel hose on the flight line, drive a truck in the motor pool, or whatever your job entails, we can always be intentional about improving the safety culture at our base.

It seems to me that the most common back to basics approach for everyone to consider that will improve our safety culture is to consistently empower our airmen to be proactive about safety instead of being reactive.  The phrase “If you see something, say something” applies to every work environment.  We should teach our airmen to speak up if they see something that doesn’t look right, something that could injure our airman or cause damage to our equipment.  Also, when our airmen do speak up about something that they think looks wrong, we should always support them even if it is determined to be a false alarm.

Going back to the basics to improve our safety culture may mean something totally different for each of us, but the one thing we all can do is to empower our airmen to speak up if they see something that doesn’t look right.  We should always be proactive about safety and not reactive.  Let’s change our safety culture by getting back to the basics!


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.