Never Stop Learning
CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 4 MARK LEUNG
G3, Investigations, Reporting and Tracking
U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center
Fort Rucker, Alabama
“The Army warrant officer is a technical expert, combat leader, trainer, and advisor. Through progressive levels of expertise in assignments, training, and education, the warrant officer administers, manages, maintains, operates, and integrates Army systems and equipment across unified land operations.” — Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-3
While that excerpt from DA Pam 600-3 primarily targets the Warrant Officer Corps — especially aviation safety officers within that group — it can apply to all safety professionals. However, beyond the Aviation Safety Officer Course, there is not a designated path of continuing education for the aviation safety officer. Anyone who has been involved with the Army safety community for even a short period of time knows how quickly our best practices, tools, doctrine and applicable federal/state regulations can change. It can be difficult to keep up with the flood of information. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to stay current on new and changing subjects.
First, you should regularly visit the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC) website (https://safety.army.mil) and ensure you are familiar with all of the available information it contains. The Driver’s Training Toolbox and the new OSHA Corner are two of the most informative areas. Should you ever be designated to a mishap investigation board, the USACRC website also houses a wealth of knowledge on everything from how to conduct the investigation, best practices, handbooks and, best of all, points of contact to help you along the process.
What I really want to highlight, however, is continuing education for aviation safety officers. When I was a combat aviation brigade (CAB) safety officer, I added into our standing operating procedure that safety officers “should” complete one safety-related course every six months. This wasn’t a hard-and-fast requirement and they didn’t have to submit proof to me or their battalion safety officers. It was just a recommendation. These courses didn’t have to be strictly Army safety-related. There are plenty of opportunities available to learn something new or to refresh your current knowledge. Here are some ideas:
- Driver training — This is a big area of focus. How familiar are you with what your Soldiers are being taught and how well is your unit implementing Army Regulation 600-55?
- HAZMAT — The safety officer should already be monitoring this program. You should be more familiar with it.
- The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourse — If you are not a rider already, this will help you understand the need for training from the rider’s standpoint. Plus, the course provides motorcycles for training.
- Contingency Airfield Management Workshop — This program is run by Air Traffic Services Command at Fort Rucker. We brought them TDY to our CAB.
- Online Federal Emergency Management Agency training
The list above is not all-inclusive, so get creative when seeking out training. There are paid courses as well, though they’re certainly not a requirement. These courses can include college classes; individual training (human factors classification system, interviewing, cause mapping, investigation process, etc.); certification classes (Career Program-12, associate safety professional/certified safety professional, etc.); and Occupational Safety and Health Administration training/certifications. The individual safety officer must decide if they want to invest their own money in these courses. However, it is possible to have some of this training paid for by the unit and completed in a group setting.
As leaders, we must continue to advance and make sure we are providing opportunities to our subordinate safety officers to ensure we are developing the future. Think outside the box and find ways to better yourself. Readiness through Safety!