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News Release


Release No: 711-94
December 22, 1994


The Secretary of Defense announced today that DoD has just completed its safest year in modern memory. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy considering the incredible challenges the Department faced with many humanitarian missions, worldwide deployments, and restructuring.

The statistics are impressive. DoD aircraft accident rates dropped from 1.94 to 1.63 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. The dollar cost of major aircraft accidents dropped from $1.6 to $1.2 billion dollars. Aviation fatalities dropped significantly from 119 to 68. The number of destroyed aircraft also reached an all-time low of 84, down from 110.

Accidental military deaths dropped from 666 to 526, an all time low in fatalities. Although some of this decrease resulted from downsizing, the continuing improvement is reflected in the DoD fatality rate -- which dropped from .39 to .36 accidental deaths per thousand Service members.

Accidental deaths among DoD military personnel have been declining faster than other non-hostile deaths. A key objective of DoD's Environmental Security efforts has been to create a future environment where accidents claimed fewer lives than other non-hostile fatalities. This future arrived in 1994, when for the first time ever, there were fewer accidental military fatalities than non-accidental.

In an organization as large as DoD, it would be easy to tally these deaths as just another set of grim statistics. The reality is that each and every such loss is a tragedy, both to those families left behind and the larger "family" that is the Department. On a very personal level, the Department is particularly proud of these dramatic reductions in losses.

Attached are charts showing the long-term major aircraft accident rate trend and the fatality trend for uniformed members from FY80 through FY94.

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