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Military Pilots Paying More Attention to Safety After Stand-down

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FAYETTEVILLE — Serving in the military is a dangerous job, even during peace time. Justlast month, there were six mishaps involving military aircraft. Four ofthose were deadly.

The crashes had every branch of the military standing down for 24 hours.Those who fly military plane are finding themselves paying more attentionto safety measures.

WRAL'sTerriGrucawas overseas with Fort Bragg soldiers in the former Soviet Unionand flew back on a C-141. She described how the crashes affected the waythe crews flew.

All the preparations, all the safety checks. Once routine for air forcecrews, but not anymore. The C-141 crew flew over the Atlantic days aftersix air force planes crashed.

"When the 141 went down I thought that's this airplane you know that guywas sitting right here doing what I'm doing from the same base," said TSGTClint Williams, flight engineer.

Williams keeps a picture of his family on his desk to keep him focused, which can be hard when most crews are loaded down with work. The airforce used to have no trouble staffing flights but now there are fewertraining exercises because they don't have enough people.

"We're undermanned," said SRA Jason Gray, flight engineer. "We're 67%manned that's underneath what the air force sets down as a standard."

Even if you're not part of the crew but flying as one of the passengers, soldiers, while they're thinking about the accidents, say it's still partof the job.

Despite military cutbacks, safety remains a top priority. To stay safe crew members count on each other.

"We're all in it together," said Williams. "We back up each other cause ifanything goes wrong you're all going to go down together so you've got tokeep that crew concept."

Crew members said they go through several weeks of safety training a year.

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