97 MXG receives 2023 DoD SOHMS Achievement Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

In August 2023, the 97th Maintenance Group was announced as the installation level recipient of the Department of Defense Safety and Occupational Health Management System (SOHMS) Achievement Award.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense describes the award as being “presented to encourage a continuous positive safety culture and to recognize the hard work of the DoD installations and individuals committed to achieving safe workplaces.”

A group of experts evaluated the nominations and chose the 97th MXG at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, as the winner of the award.

“A lot of hard work has gone on here,” said Kelly Bailey, 97th MXG director. “It’s indicative of not myself here or the individuals in the safety office, but every individual that we have here. This was a team award and everything that went into this was recognition for all of the accomplishments of the entire organization.”

With their dedication to employ worksite analysis, hazard control prevention and control methods, as well as a commitment to safety and health training, the group has developed a positive safety culture and healthy work environment.

The 97th MXG was also recognized last year for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Star Among Stars Award, for going above and beyond to prevent and reduce workplace mishaps.

Gregory Alan Miller II, 97th MXG safety and occupational health specialist, emphasized the group's commitment to VPP’s four elements: hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, and management commitment and worker involvement.

“We really highlight those four elements of VPP throughout our organization,” he said. “We highlight our management, leadership and employee involvement. We have a very comprehensive safety program to analyze hazards at all levels too. We’ve mitigated around 600 hazards in the group since becoming a VPP site in 2012.”

Bailey explained much of their success is a reflection of the group’s change in culture.

“We’ve seen a transformation in our organization,” he said. “It’s a culture of ownership, personal ownership. We are the only organization in the entire DoD that was recognized with this award, we received the Star Among Stars, and that shows the culmination of how we act as the best of the best.”

In a letter to the 97th MXG, the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Ashish Vazirani, said this:

“The workforce’s dedication to duty and professionalism will ensure the continued quality of operations and the safety and health of all 97 MXG personnel and directly supports the Department’s operational readiness goals.”