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News | Dec. 15, 2016

Yokosuka distribution center holds annual Forklift Rodeo and Safety Rally

By Ron Ewing DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan

Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, hosted their 11th annual Forklift Rodeo and Safety Rally on Nov. 10.  Eight teams consisting of 37 participants competed in five events designed to test their safe forklift operating skills.

"Each of the five events tests a variety of skills to develop a higher level of operator ability by making full use of precision, environmental awareness, and safety, which are indispensable for forklift operations," said Endo Shigemi, DLA Distribution Yokosuka Transportation Division.

The Forklift Rodeo has evolved from a DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, internal event in 2006 to a base-wide event.  Other commands joined in 2008, and the Safety Rally portion was added in 2011.  Rodeo events were modified in 2014 to increase the emphasis on safe and precise handling, rather than speed.

"Our Forklift Rodeo was a great opportunity for our teammates and partner commands to showcase their skills and competitiveness,” said DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan’s, commander Navy Cmdr. Nolasco Villanueva.  “It also helped increase our focus on general safety awareness, having fun and reinforcing safe forklift operation.”

Determined to better their third place finish from 2015, the NEX Team 1 moved up to finish second this year.  Third place went to NEX Team 3, and the DLA Distribution Yokosuka Transportation Division defended their title by taking first place again this year.  The Best Individual Performance Award went to Shigemi Endo from the DLA Distribution Yokosuka Transportation Division.

"The opportunity to meet and compete with different commands has created a comradery and mutual respect between our associates and their counterparts that could not have been obtained if not for this event,” said Morrison Placido, NEX Yokosuka, Japan.  “It has also brought about a competitive streak in our team which has led them to train harder and work more efficiently as a team.  As a result, our teams took the second and third place overall awards, and obtained numerous individual awards for several events.  We look forward to next year’s events: the comradery, the competition and most importantly the first place trophy!             

The Safety Rally was once again strongly supported by the Commander, Naval Forces Japan Regional Fire Department with its fire engine display, smoke-filled room simulator, and 8.0 earthquake simulator. The smoke-filled room simulator reinforced previous training on the proper way to egress a burning building, and the earthquake simulator demonstrated the power of a major earthquake.

The Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Safety Office provided information on bicycle safety and Sumitomo Nacco Forklift Company provided refresher safety training for forklift operations. Representatives from the Family Service Center also manned a booth to distribute literature and answer questions concerning their programs.

Even though the temperature was slightly chilly, the day was filled with smiles, laughter, and cheering. The friendly competition was a great tool to reinforce safe forklift operating habits, demonstrate skills, and promote improved relations between DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, and the other commands on the installation.

“Great job to everyone who organized and participated,” said Villanueva.  “The outstanding support staff made this event special for all the DLA Distribution Yokosuka employees and our partners at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka."