By Capt. Christopher Kim
311th Signal Command
2020 was an unprecedented year that effected everybody on the planet and nobody was spared from the effects of Covid-19. Every single Soldier in the 9th Mission Support Command had to ensure that mission capabilities were met while being compliant with local restrictions. Brig. Gen. Timothy Connelly, the Commanding General of the 9th MSC, made it his priority that safety would never be compromised and only reinforced.
The safety team of the 9th MSC has been led by Joseph Richardson who has been with the unit since 2019 and Jhade Bugauisan, who will reach his one year mark at the end of this year. Capt. Reginaldo Hill was also an integral member of the team. Being staffed at 50%, having the largest footprint in the entire United States Army Reserve and in the midst of the pandemic, the safety team would have a daunting task ahead of them.
“From the first day Brig. Gen. Connelly took command, he stated that safety would be his number one priority and all of the down trace commanders made safety their number one priority and they lived up to it.” said Richardson.
Since the Safety Office was at 50% capacity, the extraordinary push for safety from Brig. Gen. Connelly and the down trace commanders would be the secret recipe for success.
“Every time we would visit the units and make safety and compliance recommendations, they would do it and gave us nothing but all of the support we could want.” Richardson said.
As a result of the symbiotic working relationship of the 9th MSC safety team and the entire leadership force, they had an extremely low accident rate and no fatalities in the unit which has approximately over 3,000 Soldiers across the Pacific footprint.
Due to the stellar safety metrics, the unit won the Pacific Army Safety Award for the second time and the 9th MSC was chosen out of the 6 winners to compete against all other 1 star command units in the entire U.S. Army for the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award.
“We won the Army Pacific Safety Award and that put us in the running for the Army Safety Award from the Department of Army, which is the first time in the unit’s history.” Richardson said.
Winning the Army Safety Award from the Department of Army for the first time is an enormous accomplishment in itself; however, the fact that this was done with a 50% understaffed safety office in the largest footprint in the US Army Reserve during a pandemic will be always be a historic moment for the 9th MSC.
“With this award, we cannot lower our guards down because we received this award and instead we need to keep going and continue to improve our safety controls,” Bugauisan said. “The award and recognition is nice but knowing that we did our job and that everybody in the unit is safe and sound is all that really matters.”
This historic accomplishment in the 9th MSC does in fact showcase the safety team but they immediately give credit to Brig. Gen. Connelly and the culture and vision he has created.
“It’s a humbling reflection of how blessed I am to call myself the commander of this awesome team because this award is recognition of a team effort.” Connelly said.