News: JBLM soldiers qualify to load up, lift off
Story by Staff Sgt. Bryan Lewis
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Joint Base Lewis-McChord hosted a week-long Sling Load Inspector Certification Course where 39 soldiers from various units under 7th Infantry Division trained, tested and applied their knowledge of inspecting and rigging various pieces of equipment to helicopters.
According to the U.S. Army Quartermaster School website, the SLICC is a five-day course conducted by the sling load office under the USAQMS. The mission of the course is to train Soldiers in the rank of specialist and above in basic sling load operations, and ultimately to certify personnel from all services as sling load inspectors.
The course, which was coordinated by the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, brought four instructors from Fort Lee, Va. to take the students through a detailed and rigorous lesson plan.
“The course is designed to put effort into it. You have to study because there are a lot of moving pieces,” said Sgt. 1st Class Israel Cordero, SLICC instructor.
The classroom portion of the course familiarized Soldiers with the technical manual and field manual for multiservice helicopter sling load, basic operations and equipment.
“The second day into the course was a written exam that went over the limitations for aircraft, capacities for the slings, capacities for the hardware and harnesses and it went over what a landing point is supposed to look like,” said Spc. Robert Jacobs, 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion crew chief.
Jacobs was one out of five crew chiefs from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade who participated in the course.
“I wanted to be in this class because I think it’s pertinent for our job so that we know how to pick slings up and we’ll know the proper weights that should be attached,” Jacobs said.
“It helps me be able to jump out of the helicopter (UH-60M Black Hawk) and inspect the load to make sure that everything on the load is per what the paperwork says.”
As of October 1997, all Army loads must be inspected by a qualified inspector that is a graduate of one of the following courses: Pathfinder, Air Assault or SLICC.
The presence of multiple brigades in the course increased unit interoperability for training or during a deployment.
“Even though this is a Quartermaster class, it doesn’t matter what your MOS (military occupational specialty) is,” Cordero said. “Anyone who graduates can be the one to make sure that the paperwork and the load match.”
“It’s great for our MOS because a lot of the times when we go to the field, we work with these guys (other units),” Jacobs said. “When we go to Yakima Training Center or down range, we know they are going through the same course we’re going through.
“It’s a key factor in what we do as UH-60 Black Hawk crew members. We do a lot of hauling around of various equipment like MREs (meals ready to eat).”
The final day of the class put all the week’s training together as class members teamed up to take turns inspecting either a filled cargo net or a Humvee before conducting an actual hookup to a UH-60M Black Hawk from 2-158th AHB.
“The day was a success because we got everybody into a spot to do a hookup and there were no safety incidents. Safety is number one,” Cordero said.
Upon returning from the landing site, the course instructors passed out graduation certificates and presented each graduating member with a sling load inspector’s card.