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Weapons safety. (Monthly Award Winners).

A ward of Distinction

SSgt Larry Driver displayed supreme safety awareness when he was called to respond to an A-10 ground emergency after its GAU-8 30-millimeter gun jammed during an ammunition upload. He immediately took charge of the situation and ensured the area was quickly and safely evacuated. SSgt Driver then briefed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team and fire department personnel on the unique safety hazards associated with the High Explosive and Armor Piercing rounds (API) in the jammed gun. In fact, all of the API rounds in the A-10 contained portions of depleted uranium making this MISHAP an unusually dangerous situation. SSgt Driver ensured that operations provided a pilot quickly as the aircraft needed to be taxied to the gun berm expeditiously. He determined that towing the aircraft was out of the question due to the hazard posed to the driver. Next, he diligently followed technical orders in attempts to safe the gun; when the gun couldn't be safed using the procedures in technical orders, he ensured all work was stopped until the "Unsafe Gun Rapid Response Team" could be flown in from Eglin Air Force Base. SSgt Driver's masterful leadership of this crisis enabled the A-10's gun to be safely cleared of ammunition and ensured the safety of the emergency response team. His efforts preserved a $135,000 GAU-8 gun from destruction and prevented an environmental catastrophe. A stickler for attention to detail, SSgt Driver also discovered the root cause of an inadvertently fired impulse cart on aircraft 80-0140. He identified a faulty micro switch in the bomb rack which allowed voltage to reach and fire the cart. An acknowledged weapons system expert, SSgt Driver led the investigation of a recent in-flight loss of a Triple Ejector Rack (TER). His team duplicated the malfunction and discovered a shorted wire in the TER cable. He inspected the cable and discovered the exposed wire not only had been spliced incorrectly but also improperly wrapped. This short turned out to be a systemic problem: SSgt Driver instigated an immedia te one-time inspection of all TER cables with 61 of 68 cables identified as bad! His swift actions prevented untold future USAF weapons mishaps.

SSgt Larry L. Driver II,23rd Aircraft Maintenance Sqn., 23rd Fighter Wing, Pope AFB, North Carolina
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Title Annotation:military safety
Publication:Combat Edge
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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