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Yuma awarded Corps' safest air station

By Lance Cpl. Jakob Schulz | | August 13, 2009

A prestigious aviation safety award was presented to the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., Aug. 6, 2009.

With more than 2,780 mishap-free flight hours, the station proved to be the safest air installation in the Navy and Marine Corps in 2008.

Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, Marine Corps Installations West commanding general, presented the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award to the station's commander, Col. Mark Werth, before speaking to gathered personnel about the importance of those who support the main war effort.

“Our bases ensure that every Marine who is deployed receives the best training that they can get,” said Lehnert.

This feat was a team effort by various departments such as search and rescue, air traffic control, station weather, the fuels branch and the ordnance complex, said Lt. Col. Robert Skankey, station safety department director.

Yuma-based Marine Attack Squadron 311 also won a CNO safety award, and was the only Harrier squadron in the Marine Corps to do so.

Yuma has received this honor before, with a four-year streak between 1998 and 2001, and then again in a three-year streak between 2004 and 2006.

The station is the Marine Corps’ showcase aviation training complex, stated the award citation, with approximately 2.8 million acres of training ranges, more than 8,000 square miles of airspace and year-round ideal flying weather. It is the busiest air station in the Marine Corps and hosted 223,845 air operations in 2008.

The station supports 80 percent of the Corps’ aviation training with approximately 10,000 Marines from around the globe logging more than 8,800 flight hours, according to the station’s 2008 statistical summary.

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