Assault Craft Unit FIVE Awarded Second Consecutive CNO Safety Award

by Chief Petty Officer Justin Oxford
05 April 2021
Assault Craft Unit FIVE Awarded Second Consecutive CNO Safety Award
210322-N-OI926-998 CAMP PENDLETON (March 22, 2021) Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ethan Cleveland and Lt. Katherine Ortega, assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, receive the Chief of Naval Operations FY20 Shore Safety Award on behalf of ACU 5. The annual CNO Shore Safety Award recognizes individual commands’ outstanding achievements in safety and occupational health. ACU-5 excelled in their implementation of the safety management system, reducing mishap trends and costs while demonstrating strong safety leadership and earning the unit the award for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Operations Specialist Justin Oxford/RELEASED)
Assault Craft Unit FIVE Awarded Second Consecutive CNO Safety Award
Assault Craft Unit FIVE Awarded Second Consecutive CNO Safety Award
210322-N-OI926-998 CAMP PENDLETON (March 22, 2021) Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ethan Cleveland and Lt. Katherine Ortega, assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, receive the Chief of Naval Operations FY20 Shore Safety Award on behalf of ACU 5. The annual CNO Shore Safety Award recognizes individual commands’ outstanding achievements in safety and occupational health. ACU-5 excelled in their implementation of the safety management system, reducing mishap trends and costs while demonstrating strong safety leadership and earning the unit the award for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Operations Specialist Justin Oxford/RELEASED)
Photo By: Chief Petty Officer Justin Oxford
VIRIN: 220113-N-N0831-0002
A robust training program combined with meticulous mishap prevention and reporting procedures earned Assault Craft Unit FIVE (ACU-5) the 2020 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Shore Safety Award in the Fleet Operational Support Unit category for the second year in a row, March 22, 2021.


The annual CNO Shore Safety Award recognizes individual commands’ outstanding achievements in safety and occupational health. ACU-5 excelled in their implementation of the safety management system, reducing mishap trends and costs while demonstrating strong safety leadership and earning the unit the award for the second consecutive year.

“Receiving the 2020 Shore Safety Award two years in a row recognizes our commitment to a culture of safe operations and the hard work we have done to improve our safety practices,” said ACU-5 Commanding Officer, Capt. Chris Nelson. “I’m proud that the Chief of Naval Operations has recognized our command for its exceptional safety record, but more importantly I’m proud that our team exemplifies a culture of safety every day.”

ACU-5 boasts shore- and sea-going components comprised of nearly 600 Sailors who are involved in continuous and inherently dangerous operations: maintaining and operating high-speed, ship-to-shore Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC).

With keen attention to safety on a sprawling 114-acre compound, the “Swift Intruders” safely transferred 10 million pounds of fuel, issued 12,000 items of hazardous material, and completed 300 mishap-free, 220,000 pound LCAC crane lifts in 2020. These operations were completed in conjunction with the sea-going Operations Department’s successful execution of 324 amphibious missions and the deployment of a detachment of seven LCAC and 85 Sailors in support of the USS Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group. In a demanding maintenance and operational environment, these efforts could not have been achieved without diligent safety protocols and leadership.

“In [2020], we faced the difficulty of balancing mission readiness with maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols,” said Lt. Kathleen Ortega, ACU-5’s Safety Officer. “However, every ACU-5 Sailor and civilian stepped up to that challenge. Safety was, and continues to be, a top priority for all on- and off-duty evolutions.”

ACU-5 identified a hazardous condition on the transition ladders using the near-miss reporting process; a process of categorizing unplanned events that almost results in a fatality, injury or property damage event. These transition ladders lead from the ground to the working deck on the LCACs and are important to crew safety. The command’s Safety Team designed, developed, procured, and assembled a brand-new Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) compliant ramp platform for use across the LCAC community, which encompasses ACU-4 in Little Creek, Virginia; ACU-5 in Camp Pendleton, California; and Navy Beach Unit 7 in Sasebo, Japan.

“The ramp platforms that have been used for the past 17 years [have become] severely degraded, extremely immobile, uncompliant, and unstable,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ethan Cleveland, ACU-5’s Safety Leading Chief Petty Officer. “The Safety Division worked relentlessly for over a year to find a company that could fabricate an LCAC-specific set of platform stairs to fit the specifications and demands of the community.”

The LCAC-specific platform stairs are now available for all commands that own and operate LCACs, thanks to the Sailors at ACU-5 who created a MILSTRIP number and added it to the Navy stock system.

“Using both deliberate and real-time Operational Risk Management to assess all evolutions at the command and mitigate risk to our Sailors and our Craft has allowed us to maintain superb readiness in 2020,” said Nelson. “The entire command is committed to safety, and it shows when you look at our numbers and the advances we have made. Those results are indicative of a safety-all-the-time mindset and everyone is constantly doing their best to improve.”

ACU-5 and the safety team continued the push after winning the same award in 2019, and Ortega reflected on their impact on the Navy as a whole.

“After winning the award in 2019, I stated, ‘You haven’t seen the last of us,’ and now here we are,” said Ortega. “It is a great feeling after such a culture change, to see it grow into what it has here at ACU-5. We not only implemented change here at our unit but throughout the entire LCAC community with the procurement of new OSHA-compliant platform stairs. Keeping LCAC’ers safe is our highest priority. Great work, ‘Swift Intruders!’”

ACU-5 is based out of Camp Pendleton, California, and is assigned to Naval Beach Group One.

 


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Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 2841 Rendova Rd. San Diego, CA 92155-5490

This is an official
U.S. Navy website

U.S. Pacific Fleet
2841 Rendova Rd
San Diego, CA
92155-5490

Email:
Public Affairs Officer
Webmaster

 
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