15th SB Officers hone safety, health skills

Story and Photos by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — Officers of the 15th Sustainment Brigade gained valuable knowledge regarding Soldiers’ health, welfare, and the environment from an Officers Professional Development class here Sept. 26.

The class was part of an ongoing effort by the 15th SB to continue educating and developing its leaders at all levels.

“I know you all haven’t even dusted your boots off from the field yet,” Col. Larry Phelps, 15th SB commander, said.

Phelps said he believes that this training is a priority not to be overlooked by other training events.

The first speaker was Col. Wilma Larsen, deputy commander of the Carl A. Darnall Army Medical Center.  Her main focus was the medical profile, which is a means to let leaders know what medical care providers’ concerns are about a Soldier and excludes them from activities which could make their condition worse.

“General Lynch has been very clear, the first person that he catches violating a profile he’s going to make an example of,” Larsen explained to the room full of leaders.

“A profile is not a recommendation, it’s not a good idea, it’s not a suggestion,” Phelps added.

Lynch said there are ways for leadership to dispute a profile by contacting providers and medical services’ leadership.

She also said if a Soldier or leader doesn’t understand the profile’s restrictions, they should ask about it. Lynch gave the example of a profile which limits the Soldier to lifting no more than 40 pounds.

“What we hope that you can understand with that is that [it] doesn’t mean that the Soldier can lift 20 pounds 300 times. We’re trying to give you some good general guidelines so that the soldier doesn’t have aggravating of those conditions.”

The afternoon’s second speaker was Derrick Born, a Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Compliance Assessment Team member. Born spoke mostly of recycling and the handling of hazardous materials.

He said a common question was about what to inventory as a hazardous material.

“Anything that you cannot drink … we are going to consider a hazardous material,” Born said, adding any material which could cause harm should be considered hazardous.

He also talked about the importance of commanders ensuring environmental safety checks are done regularly and of the possibility of ECAT inspections becoming less frequent if current inspections continually go well.

Another part of the change would include unannounced inspections.

“On assessment days we look outstanding.  So we want to make sure that we are doing that on a day to day basis,” he said.

The final official briefing was given by Dave Sullivan, 15th SB safety officer.

Sullivan showed statistics which prove the majority of accidents within the 15th SB are in Army and privately owned vehicles by Soldiers younger than 26 years old.

“Can these accidents be avoided? Yes,” Sullivan answered himself.

He explained these and other statistics can help commanders identify Soldier’s who may be at risk for certain kinds of accidents and take action before there is a problem.

“Safety is an individual responsibility,” Phelps said.

Each individual Soldier in 15th SB is required to keep a Power Thought card on them which reads, “I can save my own life,” as part of the brigade’s safety program.

According to Sullivan and Phelps, the Combat Readiness Center’s website, https://crc.army.mil/home/, has many tools which leaders can use as part of their risk management efforts.


Col Larry Phelps
Col. Larry Phelps, 15th SB commander, speaks to a group of officers during an officer professional development class here Sept. 26. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

Derrick Born
Derrick Born, an Environmental Compliance Assessment Team member, speaks to a group of officers during an officer professional development class here Sept. 26. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)