Safety Office of the Year: 43d Air Mobility Operations Group, Pope Army Airfield, NC


The 43d Air Mobility Operations Group (AMOG), Pope Army Airfield, NC, led by Col Joseph M. Vanoni, has been awarded the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Safety Office of the Year recognition.

The 43 AMOG is the sole AMC tenant performing the duties of a Host Safety office, serving 2,200 personnel and four Major Commands. They ensured zero Class A and B mishaps while manned at only 66 percent.

From leadership to training, the 43 AMOG has a broad skillset.

While surveilling the Department of Defense’s busiest joint training program, the 43 AMOG audited safety procedures for 611 Joint Airborne Air Transportability Training missions and 35,000 chutes, ensuring safe Immediate Response Force (IRF) operations.

The 43 AMOG furthered IRF operations by ensuring the safety of the first IRF launch in 30 years. For this launch, they supported 103 missions and the delivery of 4,000 passengers and 3,000 tons of cargo. Their efforts supported the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and 5,500 civilians.

Their work in leading the Bird/ Wildlife Aviation Hazard program successfully dispersed 11,000 birds and 25 mammals. They investigated 36 wildlife strikes and bolstered safety for 2,300 aircraft operations.

The 43 AMOG is committed to excellence, as evidenced by their acing the AMC safety biannual inspection. The program was found to be 100 percent compliant.

For a safety merger between the 82d Airborne and Pope Army Airfield, the 43 AMOG synchronized three organizations and investigated an Army Class A mishap, identifying the root cause.

Their leadership capabilities were recently displayed when they headed the joint weapons program. The 43 AMOG licensed nine programs at 12 Air Force and Army sites. They validated nine Explosives Site Plans, ensuring zero weapons mishaps. They also led the Pope Army Airfield motorcycle safety program, in which they trained and approved North Carolina registration for 51 riders, resulting in zero Class A or B mishaps. The 43 AMOG managed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for $105 million in airfield projects. They inspected worksites and ensured compliance, sporting a 30-percent airfield parking increase.

From leadership to training, the 43 AMOG has a broad skill set. At a Combat Off-Load (Method) B training site in the continental United States, the 43 AMOG established a training safety plan and guided five events to certify 62 aircrew and ground personnel on Semi-Prepared Runway Operations.
The 43 AMOG kept operations running smoothly. They mitigated potential IRF delays by supporting the 18th Airborne Corps runway renovation, thereby validating flight safety requirements for eight airfield closure courses of action. They also governed the Occupational Safety program, inspecting 57 facilities and completing 71 spot inspections. These efforts were critical to achieving their eighth consecutive Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Their thorough inspections also supported operations. The 43 AMOG inspected Fort Bragg R-5311 ranges and landing zones. This enabled 78,000 sorties for 34,000 aircraft and 41,000 helicopters, supporting 50,000 proficiency jumps.

Even in adversity, the 43 AMOG pushed on. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the 43 AMOG executed a mitigation plan, securing safety oversight of airfields.

Demonstrating their ability to be team players, the 43 AMOG networked with six Air Traffic Control and Federal Aviation Administration agencies in synchronizing Mid-Air Collision Avoidance efforts. This action reduced aviation risks across 53,000 square miles.

The resulting effects of the 43 AMOG’s actions are far-reaching. The actions of the 43 AMOG this year enabled Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve deployments, which involved the movement of 4,000 personnel, 510 tons of cargo, and 32 aircraft. These deployments fortified Central Command stability and combat operations.