The 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted a safety awareness training event at York Theater on Fort Bragg, recently.

The event brought together leadership and civilian aviation professionals as part of a discussion panel to discuss safety.

Among the guests was retired Master Sgt. Cheryl Stearns, an aviator who is considered to be the most successful skydiver in the world.

Stearns is no stranger to Fort Bragg.

She entered the Army in 1977 and became the first female member of the elite parachuting team, the Golden Knights.

To many, airborne and aviation operations are inherently considered a high-risk military profession.

“I’ve been jumping for 44 years and I nearly died one year ago getting struck by a car while riding my bicycle,” said Stearns.

As any military operation, there is no room for complacency.

My head was in the clouds, and I wasn’t paying attention to the traffic on the road,” said Stearns. “I almost lost my life being complacent.”

As a former member of a UH-60 Black Hawk air crew, Stearns said communication is essential among crew chiefs and pilots.

“Usually one bad apple on a team creates tension amongst other members,” said Stearns.

“Communicate with your leadership about individuals that may have a problem to turn around the bad to good, and build team cohesion.”

Among those in attendance at the safety training was Spc. Lawonda Martin, an information technology specialist with 2nd AHB.

“Unlike previous safety stand downs, the discussion panel presented helpful information to Soldiers about communicating with our leadership and included (emphasis of) safety awareness in our daily activities,” said Martin.

Other members of the discussion panel included Army veteran, J. David Johnson, currently an American Airlines pilot and Mike Lloyd, an aviation technician at Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Like Stearns, Johnson and Lloyd’s wealth of experience reiterated the importance of incorporating safety into everyday activities, both on and off duty.

The safety stand down concluded with an award presentation for the distinguished guests, presented by Lt. Col. Travis McIntosh, commander of the 2nd AHB.

“This safety stand down day is one way to help our unit, but also assist the individual Soldiers in translating this knowledge to their Families to practice safety,” said McIntosh.