Navy Mishaps Continue
Despite the retirement of RAdm Dirren, the weekly reports continue. Below are several much-more-recent reports, which continue to use Dirren's wonderful style, along with a link to the Naval Safety Center's web site, where the weekly reports are now published -- under the title "Friday Funnies"! (Yes, really!)
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- The scene: a carrier tied up in San Diego. An E-3 (Seaman) storekeeper was, the report says, "sitting in a chair grinding the deck." Seems like a comfy way to tackle that sort of manual labor. Presumably it was working. Maybe the chair had rollers and he could grind a little, scoot along, and grind some more. Maybe the chair was padded. These facts are unclear, but what is clear is that he got distracted, looked away for a second, and before he knew it, the grinder applied itself to his left leg, producing a four-suture gash.
An excellent refresher lesson in Power Tools 101, much like the lesson that every teeball coach learns about 7-year-olds and bats (they hit you with them if you don't watch out). When it comes to sharp and/or rotating metal tools in proximity to your extremities, you keep an eye on two things: the task you are trying to accomplish, and the blade. If the latter is moving, make sure you keep watching. Everything else is secondary and can wait.
- Inadvertent adrenalin rush of the month goes to a pair of soldiers who were recently driving a rented SUV at a test and training range out west one night. Seems an F-16 (fighter jet) was on a training mission at the time, and the pilot was getting some practice shooting at ground targets. Seems the SUV was in the target area. Seems the pilot was a good shot.
An Air Force spokeswoman said the soldiers were not hit but suffered minor injuries "while exiting the vehicle in rough terrain." Personally, any minor injuries I suffered while abandoning ship at top speed while getting shot at with really big bullets would be a welcome alternative.
Initial news reports said that investigators would determine whether the soldiers were in the wrong area of the range or whether the fighter pilot targeted the wrong vehicle. I'm guessing the former, although I don't know what the usual targets are like.
The soldiers were training to identify enemy targets and direct aircraft to fire on them. And to this, all we can say is, "Now you know what it feels like."
Special graphic feature: Have you ever seen those little stick-on "bullet hole" decals you can get for your car? Our current "Photo of the Week" (shown below) shows what the jumbo version would look like. I just wish we had a photo of the expression on the face of the car-rental employee when this one was towed back in.
- A corporal was wakeboarding on a lake in Georgia recently. Apparently it wasn't enough fun just skimming around behind the boat, so he livened up the proceedings by trying to jump the wake, with the accent on the word "trying." In a trice he lost contact with his wakeboard, and in even less of a trice he reestablished contact with it, specifically between his forehead and whatever part of a wakeboard is able to inflict a three-inch gash.
So there he is, dripping blood into the lake, facing a 19-hour flight back to his unit, and not in the mood to visit the nearest doc-in-a-box. So he did what any of us would do: swabbed on some Neosporin and covered it up with superglue.
Hey, I don't make this stuff up, I just report it.
He did visit medical the following week, and yup, he had a minor concussion. Two weeks of light duty ensued.
- Welcome to our new "You Write the Punch Line" department. We'll provide a sure-fire set-up, like when the coach pitches batting practice, and all you have to do is knock it over the fence.
Ready? Here goes. At a helicopter squadron in Florida, an AM3 (Aircraft Structural Mechanic Third Class) and a squadron mate were moving a transmission stand that had a main transmission mounted on it. The AM3 was pulling while the other guy was pushing. The AM3 stopped pulling, but the pushing continued unabated, at least until the transmission stand collided with the AM3's melon.
Fill in your punchline here. Hint for novice humorists: It has something to do with "using your head."
The AM3 ended up with a cut scalp, even though he had been wearing a helmet.
- Rocket Scientists of the Week are a trio of airmen who were trying to burn some trash in their backyard.
Need we point out that it was midnight?
Their neighbor had had a birthday party. Apparently the Sailors had volunteered to dispose of the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. The trash was wet, so they went blundering around looking for an accelerant. Gene, cue the theme from "Jeopardy" for this next part.
What is "Dry paper and kindling"? Wrong.
What is "Charcoal starter"? Wrong.
What is "A can of spray paint?" Correct. Perhaps this flammable material has never occurred to you as a fire starter. Perhaps you didn't want orange paint all over your grill. Perhaps you didn't want your burgers to taste like tetrafluoromethane.
Be that as it may, soon the airmen had produced a 3-foot-high fire and were feeling pretty good about things. One of them had put the can of spray paint in a nearby cardboard box, not intended for the blaze. However, when the fire started dying down later, one of the other airmen decided to extend the festivities. He looked around, spied that cardboard box, didn't look inside, didn't see the can, didn't find a flashlight in order to read the fine print about keeping the can away from heat or flame. Nope, he just tossed the box on the fire.
And then, as they say, all hell broke loose. The neighbors were rudely awakened by the sound of the can of spray paint exploding. The good news is that none of the shrapnel hit anyone. The bad news is that the explosion delivered enough burning material onto the bodies of two of the airmen to produce second and third degree burns on their faces, necks, upper chests, hands and legs.
Both airmen were taken to a hospital. One was hustled over to ICU. At the time of the report, he had been there a week with his prognosis uncertain. The other airman wasn't admitted but required follow-up treatment and a month of convalescent leave.
Not funny. And again, more questions than answers. Why didn't they just bag up the trash and put it out for the garbage truck? Why did this task have to be done at midnight?
That's all for this week, folks. Until next time, remember, there's also a real danger in adults not thinking things out, as demonstrated in our last 237 messages.
Posted July 25, 2008