For most pilots, accidents are things that happen to other people—until they're involved in one. The Naval Safety Center is working hard to reduce the number of fatalities and amount of property lost every year to mishaps in the air, on the sea, and on land, but all sailors and Marines must make safety a number-one concern for this effort to succeed.
In a memorandum dated 19 May 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote, "I challenge all of you to reduce the number of mishaps and accident rates by at least 50 percent in the next two years." In the world of safety, this was seen as a very compelling goal—one that could save millions of dollars and hundreds of lives. The real question on everyone's mind, however, was whether the Navy and Marine Corps could meet this goal.