25th CAB supports ‘Broncos’ during sling-load training

| December 16, 2010 | 0 Comments
Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 25th ID, prepare to hitch a towed generator to a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to Co. A, 2nd Assault Helicopter Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, during sling-load training at Wheeler Army Airfield, recently.

Soldiers from 3rd BCT, 25th ID, prepare to hitch a towed generator to a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to Co. A, 2nd Assault Helicopter Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, during sling-load training at Wheeler Army Airfield, recently.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — At times, critical supplies such as food, medicine or equipment can’t be moved by ground transportation, due to restrictive terrain, inclement weather or enemy threat.

During these occasions, the ability to conduct sling-load operations becomes a vital asset to commanders to help accomplish the mission.

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, assisted 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Broncos,” 25th ID, with conducting sling-load training to prepare Soldiers for their upcoming deployment.

Staff Sgt. Pablo Aviles, primary instructor, Company A, 325th Bde. Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, coordinated and led the training. He has previous deployment combat experience sling-loading in Afghanistan, and said this pre-deployment training was a must.

Due to the terrain overseas, he explained, a lot of supplies might have to be brought in and airdropped.

“I did a lot of air assault missions (while deployed) where I had to sling-load Howitzers and vehicles that were critical to our training and tasks,” Aviles said. “This will get our Soldiers familiarized with (some of the tasks) they will be conducting downrange as far as platoon-level, aerial delivery operations. Soldiers will gain confidence actually hooking up the cargo underneath the aircraft. It’s (absolutely) critical.”

Using a Black Hawk from 2nd Assault Helicopter Bn., 25th Avn. Regiment, 25th CAB, Broncos gained firsthand experience slinging equipment to an actual helicopter — with its blades spinning, with powerful wind from rotor wash bearing down on them and with the pressure of safely securing their loads.

“I feel more prepared now that I’ve been through the training,” said Pvt. Kelsey Lehto, motor transport operator, Co. E, 2nd Bn., 35th Infantry Regt., 3rd BCT. “I’ve never been under a helicopter. The wind and everything was very different. I wasn’t prepared for (how strong) the wind was.”

This real-time training served to teach the group of Soldiers, all of different ranks and levels of experience, how to safely conduct sling-load operations, thereby enhancing the capabilities of their unit.

Pfc. Michael Pannell, petroleum supply specialist, Co A., 325th BSB, 3rd BCT, appreciated the skills familiarization even though he’s done the training before.

“It just means more experience for me since I’ve actually done it before,” Pannell said. “We’ll be ready to do it again when we deploy. I definitely feel more prepared now, and it’ll be a little easier for me to do it in the future.”

Lehto was appreciative of the opportunity to learn how to sling-load, so she could contribute along with the rest of her fellow Soldiers.

“It prepared me better, so that way, whenever we deploy, I’ll be able to (sling-load) and not just watch other Soldiers do it,” Lehto said.

Aviles reiterated the purpose of the training was to instill confidence in the Soldiers now, so they will be fully capable of conducting real-world missions while deployed.

“It gives them overall confidence that they can accomplish the task,” Aviles said. “Now, they know how to go about researching information for rigging specific equipment. Now, if they don’t know how to (rig a certain piece of equipment), they know where to find it.

“Also, (they have) confidence in knowing the aircraft is not their enemy and, with proper supervision, they’ll be able to accomplish their tasks,” he said.

“There was great communication between us and our aviation unit support,” Aviles said. “We asked for the training, and they were more than willing to work around any issues we had at the time.”

 

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