Thursday, June 3, 2010

Airman's quick thinking warrants safety award

SrA. David Kirkbride was awarded the ACC Weapons Safety Award for his quick thinking and response during a safety incident while deployed to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, in February 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo)

By Lt. Col. Rolf Mammen
127th Maintenance Squadron commander

Senior Airman David Kirkbride, a 127th Maintenance Squadron munitions systems specialist, was recently presented the ACC Weapons Safety Award. His actions and cool demeanor during a safety incident on a during the 127th Wing's A-10 winter basing temporary duty to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, prevented possible personal injury or loss of life and damage to Air Force Property.

On February 2, while teamed with and working inside the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron's Munitions Storage Area, SrA. Kirkbride and two other crew members were tasked to remove and process LUU-19 Illumination Flares from a SUU-25 Flare Dispenser. The LUU-19 flare is fairly large and cumbersome to work with; approxi-mately 36 inches long, 5 inches in diameter and weighing over 35 pounds. Once deployed by an aircraft, they are designed to illuminate the battlefield for the warfighter en-gaged in ground combat.

While removing a LUU-19 flare, one of the crew members pulled on the flare accidently initiating the timer and release mechanism. The timer deploys a parachute after a predetermined amount of time and drop distance which, in turn, activates an igniter setting off the flare. Hearing the timer start the crew member panicked. He finished pulling the flare out of the SUU-25 dispenser and rolled it out of the processing facility and started to run.

Airman Kirkbride ran over to the LUU-19 flare and held the timing mechanism down tightly per the technical order guidance until the cycle was finished, thus preventing the ejection of the timer release mechanism and the initiator from firing. Another crew member taped the mechanism securely to the flare housing and it was marked it for disposal.

Kirkbride's quick action and recall of the Technical Data Warnings and Cautions he received during his safety briefing ultimately kept Air Force personnel and assets out of harm's way. He was officially presented the award by Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, 127th Wing commander, on May 26 during commander's call.


Please note: Today, I extracted this news article from the "Prevailing Wind" (the official newspaper of the 127th Wing, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan), June 2010 public online PDF issue. This article was never released in the 127th Wing's website's news section.

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