MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (June 9, 2011) --
“Death by power point” is what Marines envision when they receive safety briefs prior to an extended liberty period. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 Marines stepped out of the ordinary and engaged in fun, interactive lessson plans to ensure they instill safety awareness prior to their Memorial Day weekend departure May 26.
HMLA-467 held the interactive classes for its Marines at the bachelor officer’s quarters soccer field and at the Pelican Point Marina.
Lesson plans included boater’s safety, operational risk management, heat casualty prevention and care, proper vehicle inspections, suicide awareness and trip planning. To cover each subject, the squadron broke into six teams with one class per team.
“It’s more hands on. A lot of people, including myself, learn better that way than just being preached at,” said Cpl. Brian E. Harvey, a UH-1N Huey mechanic for HMLA-467. “With people just talking, a lot of people get bored and stop listening.”
The teams rotated through each class during the day, using practical application, taking quizzes and writing stories.
In keeping with the bonding experience, they broke for a squadron barbeque at lunchtime.
Afterward, the squadron went to Pelican Point Marina and kayaked with drunken goggles to simulate the dangers of being under the influence while in the water. They swam against a simulated rip current as part of the water sports safety lesson.
Most of the Marines who participated in the activities agreed that the experience was more informative than the usual standard briefing methods.
“I think it’s a whole lot better than sitting in a chair for hours listening to people talk back and forth,” said Lance Cpl. Brad S. Farrell, an AH-1W Super Cobra mechanic for HMLA-467.
Maj. Adam M. Pastor, the director of safety and standardization for HMLA-467, said the process of putting the brief together and executing the day’s events was successful due to the enthusiasm of those involved.
“We had feedback from the Marines saying they didn’t like sitting in the station chapel watching a bunch of power point presentations, so I came up with the idea of doing it outside with a form of field meet competition,” said Pastor. “A couple of my Marines went about recruiting teachers and giving them guidance on how to teach the class, how to make it entertaining, and how to make a game out of each class. It was just a little bit of running around and asking people to help. Everybody was enthusiastic about it.”
According to Pastor, the secret of the success was the competitive nature of the event. In every class, there were points that each of the six teams could earn. The winning team would receive a day off work so the Marines would actually care about the results.
“I didn’t see so many people falling asleep or anything, so I think more people paid attention and actually picked up on the stuff we were taught today,” said Farrell.