Sun, May 25, 2003
SECDEF Demands 50% Reduction In Accidents Over Next Two
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (right) wants
the Department of Defense to arrest a troubling rise in the number
of military accidents - aviation incidents chief among them.
"World-class organizations do not tolerate preventable accidents,"
Rumsfeld wrote in a letter to the secretaries of the various
military services. "Our accident rates have increased recently, and
we need to turn this situation around."
Rumsfeld's May 19 memo came on the same day four Marines were
killed when their Blackhawk helicopter snagged a high wire on take
off, sinking the helicopter in a canal. A fifth soldier drowned
trying to save his comrades (below).
Alarming Rise In Military Accident Rates
Since Oct. 1, 2002, military aviation mishaps have
claimed the lives of 68 troops. That's up from 48 who died in
accidents during the same period a year earlier.
Rumsfeld wants to see accidents reduced by half in the next 24
months, a challenge that applies to all active and reserve units,
whether on duty or off. "These goals are achievable, and will
directly increase our operational readiness," the Secretary wrote
to service honchos. "We owe no less to the men and women who defend
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