3-7th FA practices sling-load operations for upcoming deployment

| September 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Staff Sgt. Amber Robinson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs,  25th Infantry Division

Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 7th FA Regt., 3rd 
BCT, 25th ID, evacuate a sling-load site after loading an M119 A2 howitzer to a Chinook helicopter, during elevator training, Sept. 13-14, on Wheeler Army Airfield. (Courtesy of 3rd BCT, 25th ID)WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Eighty Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gathered for elevator training, here, Sept. 13-14.

Batteries A and B completed the training in preparation for helicopter sling-load operations, which they will execute during their upcoming deployment next spring. For this elevator training, Soldiers prepared and hooked M119 A2 howitzers, the A22 load-bearing bag and other vehicles. 

“These types of operations will help (our Soldiers) in their expected role of delivering supporting fires, for the maneuver commander, over extended distances and very formidable and mountainous terrain (that) can act as a barrier to effective fires,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Dale Perez, 3rd Bn., 7th FA Regt., 3rd BCT. “Training and perfecting our ability to move equipment and personnel using rotary wing aircraft provides us (with) many important capabilities, to include the ability to (fly over) obstacles and strike objectives in otherwise inaccessible areas.”

Both companies worked on the basics of sling-loading throughout the month of August. 

“Soldiers worked on learning the proper commands for hooking up to the bird, how to hold on to the individual who is hooking up the load and hand and arm signals to direct the helicopter as they lower to pick up the load,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Hernandez, noncommissioned officer in charge, 3rd Bn., 7th FA Regt., 3rd BCT.

The brigade’ s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan will be a proving ground for the Soldiers who are new to the unit and those who are veterans. 

“Ninety percent of the Soldiers who did this training have never done this before,” Hernandez said. “But even for the veterans, the training was a much-needed refresher. Many of our missions in Iraq during the last deployment were more infantry-style operations. We were unable to do certain (FA) things because the mission did not call for it, so we adapted.

“The mission in Afghanistan will allow us to apply a lot of our original skills, which the guys are really amped about,” Hernandez said. “Sling-loading and other artillery basics are perishable skills, so we are happy to be employing them and getting ready to go over and experience some success on deployment.”

The battalion hopes to continue to build on their recent training during future brigade-wide training missions.

“We definitely plan to incorporate this training in the future, hopefully on a broader scale,” Hernandez said. 

Soldiers in the battalion are looking forward to employing the skills they’ve recently learned and building on these skills in the future. 

“There has been a definite attitude change since we’ve done the elevator training,” Hernandez said. “The guys are excited about doing their job, getting over to Afghanistan and employing what they’ve learned.”

Category: News, Training

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