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More humor coming down the AF email list.

From the Naval Safety Center
Head Over Heels and Briefly Airborne Followed by a Mouthful of Topsoil

1. Here's another batch of botched maneuvers, bungled tasks, and assorted major and minor boo-boos.

A. Certain words set off alarm bells as I peruse the daily message traffic: 'balcony' and 'bonfire' are two of them. 'Dirt bike' has now officially joined the PSOMF (Potential Summary Of Mishaps Fodder) list. Latest multi-fracture, head-over-heels, briefly-airborne-followed-by-a-mouthful-of-topsoil episode starred an ET3 at a dirt-bike track in California. Although he'd had 14 years experience with dirt bikes, it was his first race at the track. He jumped a four-foot hill, botched the landing, and took a short flight followed by a violent touchdown that broke a trio of bones in his right leg. His helmet, goggles, gloves and chest pads may have prevented other injuries, but they sure didn't help with his leg. He spent four days in a hospital and faced an estimated six months away from work. Could easily have ended his navy career and made himself a permanent passenger in a wheelchair.

B. Aboard a CV in the South China Sea, an E-2 was toiling away as a weapons-elevator operator and a safety observer on the third deck while crewmembers were moving munitions. After one load arrived from the second deck, he prepared to send the elevator back down. First, he talked to his counterpart below. Then he put the phone handset back in its holder, placed his left hand on the open-close switch and turned the switch to 'close.' Then, he put his other hand on what he thought was the frame of a structure outside the elevator door. But, this being the Summary of Mishaps and all, obviously it was the elevator door frame, and he realized his mistake a tad too late. The door slammed closed on his fingers. He switched the door to 'open' and hustled to medical, where the ship's surgeon repaired the E-2's partly amputated middle and ring fingers and fractured index and little fingers. A medevac flight took him ashore for more treatment. He missed 45 days of work.

C. One Friday in Hawaii, an E-4 took a 600cc Suzuki motorcycle that he'd just purchased out for a spin with a buddy. Things looked fine: the weather was clear and dry, he had attended the motorcycle-safety course five months earlier, the cycle was duly registered on-base, and he'd had several years experience riding motorcycles.

Unfortunately, he had either snoozed through the training or didn't quite swallow it, because he was wearing boots but no helmet. This approach to motorcycling strikes me as just plain daft. I suppose he figured he would definitely have to put his feet down on something hard (namely, the street), but he didn't plan on doing anything with his head except savoring the balmy tropical breeze. He certainly hadn't used his head for much up to this point.

The two riders were speeding along a highway, two lanes apart, when the one who was closest to an off-ramp took the exit. The E-4 cut across both lanes, slammed into a curb and went flying. And here's the price of speed, sudden maneuvers and no helmet: a fractured skull, blood clots in his brain and spine, and ruptured lungs. The usual assortment of cuts and scrapes were the least of his worries. Initial estimates were 90 days in the hospital, and the likelihood of a partial disability.

D. At a state park in Washington, an aviator discovered (to his imminent regret) how to combine a recreation with his profession. He navigated his mountain bike down a small hill at a big pace, raced up a two-foot mound of dirt, and (here's where the profession comes in) went airborne and soared over the handlebars. Hardly worth logging the flight time, since the minimum is six minutes and this wasn't even six seconds. He managed a three-point landing (head, right shoulder and right arm). His helmet took the brunt, cracking into four pieces. The lieutenant's ensuing pain was sufficient for him to curtail further bike ops, so he hiked back to his car. The pain was not sufficient to bring him to a doctor, however. That came several days later, when he got tired of the pain and stiffness and went to a hospital. X-rays revealed a broken forearm.

E. Serious, professional research department: Find out why, when you've saturated your coveralls with something flammable, it isn't a very bright idea to try to get rid of the smell with a lighter. ( )

2. And that ends another edition, friends and neighbors. Until next time, remember, if you keep in mind that a holster isn't a clearing barrel, your foot won't end up being a target, either.
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