After nine months of self-paced study, two warrant officers with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence recently met the requirements for the American National Standards Institute Accredited CP-12 Professional Certificate.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joshua McCurry, aviation branch safety officer, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Potter, 1st Aviation Brigade safety officer received a letter and coin from Lt. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, Training and Doctrine Command’s deputy commander, which was presented by Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general at USAACE headquarters Oct. 18, 2021.
“It enhances our readiness,” said Francis. “It allows us, with an authoritative, qualified individual to go out and assess the risks we have out there. When you think about what we do here every day from flying, to munitions, to training AIT Soldiers out in the field, land navigation--I mean the list goes on, it’s a never-ending pile of work. And you guys doing this while doing all those other things is really impressive, so I really appreciate it. Well done!”
McCurry said they already had half of the training completed through their safety officer course earlier in their careers, and were able to complete the additional training to reach this milestone.
“It just gives you a more robust capability in being able to facilitate occupational health and safety for the Army and for its installations,” McCurry said.
The Aviation Branch Safety Office performs risk management integration into the DOTMLPF-P process as one of their main functions.
The office is responsible for the safety and oversight of hundreds of aircraft launches per day as they work with G-3 Airspace and other entities.
ABSO participates in accident investigations, with findings and recommendations, Program of Instruction development and risk management and integration into the POIs, and other safety functions for the aviation branch.
Their primary scope includes not only Fort Rucker, but also the Advanced Individual Training at 128th Aviation Brigade at Fort Eustis, Va., and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems training at 2-13th Aviation Regiment at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and other entities around the branch.
Potter explained the office inspects base fields and stage fields, observes training through all the different programs of instruction, and completes facility inspections for unit property. They complete risk assessments for Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training, the hoist tower at the School of Army Aviation Medicine, observing the training and making sure the correct risk control measures are in place.
Potter commended the ABSO team and their reach.
“There are good people in the office that work pretty well together, and then working with the subordinate units, the three aviation brigades, the noncommissioned officer academies, and then the tenants here on post. We’re able to share some of those responsibilities, and CP-12 allows us to support them by getting their inspections completed. Whereas we would have to ask for help from the garrison safety office, we can now do that internally within the mission side,” Potter said.
Potter, who completed the requirements while previously serving at the ABSO, said the certification is typically for civilian careerists, with mandatory in-person only classes per OSHA’s requirement. Due to COVID-19, courses were offered online, which the warrant officers saw as an opportunity.
“For a civilian fellow it will take about two years, but we were able to get it done in about nine months,” Potter said. “It’s a lot of coursework, some in-person classes, online classes. It’s blueprint reading, electrical safety, things from safety administration – like how to manage a program and train others in safety, construction safety, and HAZMAT response.”
“It’s a lot. This is advanced education, so it allows us to help Fort Rucker and the subordinate organizations by identifying risks and mitigating those risks which is what we do as safety officers,” Potter said.
The added benefit is it opens up a potential opportunity to them after they retire from active duty, if they choose to work as a civilian safety professional.
“I’m just thankful for ABSO and the command group for making it happen,” Potter said. “It’s not common, so I definitely appreciate the opportunity.”