Francis S. McGlade; Army Safety Director
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 11, 2008; Page B06
Francis S. McGlade, 78, former director of safety for the U.S. Army who spoke out against the military's failure to take corrective action after accidents, died Aug. 23 at Kindred Hospital in Richmond of complications after heart surgery.
Just after he retired in 1984, Mr. McGlade testified in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington that the Army had "permitted a large number of needless deaths and injuries" by repeatedly ignoring internal recommendations made after military accidents and that similar accidents recurred as a result.
The Defense Department's practice of keeping accident reports secret "has resulted in a large number of accidents which could and should have been avoided," he said, calling the Army's accident prevention efforts a failure because safety recommendations are often disregarded.
He faulted the Army for failing to address the design, mechanical and operational failures that led to a 1982 parachute jump that killed six soldiers, a 1982 helicopter crash in West Germany that killed 46 and a suspected defect in some Huey and Cobra helicopters that he blamed for nearly 250 deaths over 15 years.
When he urged top officers to address the problems in the 1982 crash, he received "an icy stare" from a major general at the meeting. "That was the last I ever heard of corrective measures," Mr. McGlade said.
The affidavit landed him on the front page of The Washington Post and on "The Today Show," where he was interviewed by Connie Chung. The lawsuit, which was filed by syndicated columnist Jack Anderson over the military's refusal to release its accident reports, failed when a federal appeals court ruled on behalf of the Pentagon.
"Safety just doesn't matter as much as making things faster and deadlier," Mr. McGlade told the Boston Globe in 1997. "There's just not enough money to fund everything, and safety gets only lip service from the generals and admirals who run the services. It's insane to allow the same generals who are in charge of the command where the accident originally happened to decide whether to implement changes. But that's the way the system is set up at the Pentagon."
Mr. McGlade had been a top safety official for the Army for 20 years and had previously served in uniform during the Korean War while based at Fort Sill, Okla.
Francis Stanley McGlade was born in Fountain Hill, Pa. He graduated from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and was a star on the basketball team.
He received a master's degree in education from New York University in 1956 and a doctorate in educational psychology and school administration from NYU in 1960.
He worked for the National Education Association in Harrisonburg, Va., and Washington until he switched to working at the Pentagon as a civilian.
He wrote a book, "Adjustive Behavior and Safe Performance" (1970).
After retiring from the Pentagon, Mr. McGlade moved to Flagler Beach, Fla. Three years later, he began teaching at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. He also worked for consulting firms in Florida until retiring again in 1994.
Mr. McGlade collected so many jazz albums that at one point he had one of the largest private collections in the United States, his family said. He visited Ireland four times, owned dozens of dogs throughout his life and enjoyed playing and watching sports as well as discussing politics.
His marriage to Sophia McGlade ended in divorce. His second wife, Christine McGlade, died in 2005.
Survivors include three children from his first marriage, Michele Gendelman of Los Angeles, Matthew McGlade of Falls Church and Marc McGlade of Midlothian, Va.; three stepchildren, James Upton of Arlington County, Steve Upton of Palm Coast and Kim Upton of Holly Hill, Fla.; and nine grandchildren.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/10/AR2008091003674.html
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