YOKOSE, Japan (Sept. 5, 2017) Seaman Charles Hildebrand, from Lebanon, Penn., directs a landing craft air cushion, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7. NBU 7 is an operational unit that directly contributes to the core capabilities of U.S. maritime sea power and provides the movement of troops, equipment, vehicles and supplies from amphibious ships to shore. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch)
SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 was announced as the fiscal year 2017 Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Safety Excellence Award recipient for the expeditionary unit category on October 23.
The Secretary of the Navy Safety Excellence Awards recognize Navy and Marine Corps units that have achieved unparalleled safety and occupational program performance.
NBU 7 was commissioned on Aug. 1, 2012 and serves as the training and readiness command for landing craft air cushions (LCACs), landing craft utilities, and beach party teams forward-deployed in Japan.
“As a relatively new command, there were a number of elements the NBU 7 leadership deemed essential to success,” said Cmdr. Greta Densham, commanding officer of NBU 7. “Safety was made a priority because the high OPTEMPO in Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) demanded that we do things right the first time.”
Chief Warrant Officer Will Dispolo, safety officer of NBU 7, said his priority is to ensure everyone in the command receives the required training and abides by the safety rules and regulations at all times.
“If one person gets hurt, hurts other personnel, violates safety, or damages equipment, that is one safety violation too many,” said Dispolo.
Sailors can have many jobs at NBU 7, from working on a LCAC to maintenance, but safety is always important.
“No matter what they do on a daily basis, they have to be safety-minded,” said Dispolo. “One of our main concerns is eye and ear protection.”
Dispolo said safety involves off-site and off-duty incidents as well.
“Everything is encompassed in the safety record,” said Dispolo. “Everyone should be mindful, no matter where they’re at, and say something and correct situations because we can’t afford for anyone to get hurt.”
Dispolo credits NBU 7’s safety excellence to positive leadership.
“We have junior Sailors who are reporting who may not be aware of how dangerous this job can be,” said Dispolo. “So it falls on leadership to set the example, and I’m not just talking about senior leadership. It’s everyone from third classes up to the CO.”
Densham agreed with Dispolo that this award was a command-wide achievement.
“This was a team effort,” said Densham. “We set a command goal to reduce mishaps and we are very excited that not only did we reach that goal, but to also be recognized for our accomplishments.”
NBU 7 earned the right to fly the SECNAV Safety Flag for the next year, signifying to all the command’s commitment to safety excellence.
NBU 7 is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan and embarks aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Green Bay (LPD 20), USS Ashland (LSD 48), and USS Germantown (LSD 42).