REDSTONE ARSENAL - It's safe to say that most of us understand the hazards faced by soldiers in the field.
We also know people at Redstone Arsenal work hard every day to make sure their equipment is the best it can be. Even off base we can often hear, and even see the evidence of testing to make sure the gear works as advertised.
"Safety is probably our biggest concern. We do inherently hazardous operations out here, and we want to make sure everybody goes home safe every day," said Mike McNeil, the Redstone Test Center Safety and Occupational Health Manager.
Of course, not every test performed across the hundreds of sites operation by the RTC at Redstone involves explosions. But, there are all sorts of tests that can be dangerous. Efforts are made to keep the workers out of harm's way.
One big reason for that, besides safety in general -- the loss of an expert team member to injury could have consequences.
"As you said, a lot of our tests are last stop before these test items go to our war fighters. so our team... each piece is important and you don't want to lose any portion of that in order to keep that mission moving," said McNeil.
Again, any equipment test can be dangerous. It's why there are precautions. It's why Mike McNeil stays busy. He understands the mission, the reasons for it, and his job.
"We tend to be the voice, maybe the voice of reason at times. Mission coming in fast -- we need to get this done. But we still have to stop, proceed as normal, and everybody is safe," McNeil added.