All bases in US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa will undergo a one day safety standdown by the end of this month following a spate of munitions and materials handling mishaps in the command’s warehousing operations, USAFE-AFAFRICA spokesman MSgt. Norris Agnew told the Daily Report on June 26. The safety standdown will apply to all airmen and personnel involved in forklift and material handling operations at all of the command’s wings, said Agnew. “Each base was given the flexibility of scheduling the stand down during a 24 day window from June 7 to June 30, in order to minimize mission impact,” Agnew said. While USAFE-AFAFRICA did not cite an exact number of incidents, Agnew said the command has experienced “several” recently during general warehousing operations. Although no airmen have been injured, “resources have been damaged or destroyed,” said Agnew. Incident investigations determined most of these cases were preventable, which led to the standdown period. Safety concerns and resource preservation are vital to the command, Norris said, and USAFE-AFAFRICA leadership is willing to do “whatever it takes to re-emphasize our commitment to safety in our handling operations, even if it means briefly halting the mission.” (USAFE-AFAFRICA release)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.