‘Hillclimbers’ transport structure to eradicate, control invasive species

| March 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

 

A CH-47D Chinook helicopter, assigned to Co. B, “Hillclimbers,” 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, positions a sling-loaded connex at a landing zone seven miles east of Wheeler Army Airfield. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

A CH-47D Chinook helicopter, assigned to Co. B, “Hillclimbers,” 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, positions a sling-loaded connex at a landing zone seven miles east of Wheeler Army Airfield. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Sgt. Karl Williams
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Aviators from Company B, “Hillclimbers,” 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, conducted a sling-load operation to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or USFWS, in studying the Oahu Tree Snail, Feb. 1.

The mission involved transporting a green and white, 8 feet by 8 feet by 20 feet; 6,000-pound connex into the Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge, seven miles east of Wheeler Army Airfield for the USFWS.

The USFWS frequently partners with the Army Natural Resources Department, as both entities are landowners in the Koolau Mountains and are involved in invasive species control and endangered species management.

The connex is located in the Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge to provide USFWS workers an observation and preservation point to study Oahu’s endangered habitats in the Koolau Mountains. (Sgt. Karl Williams | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th ID)

The connex is located in the Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge to provide USFWS workers an observation and preservation point to study Oahu’s endangered habitats in the Koolau Mountains. (Sgt. Karl Williams | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th ID)

One challenge both organizations faced was access to the remote location and the logistics of safely positioning the connex.

“Sling-load operations overcame the challenges that would have made it impractical or impossible to transport the connex to the isolated area by any other means,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Dutcher, CH-47D Chinook pilot, Co. B, 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, 25th CAB, about how the Hillclimbers’ aircraft aided in overcoming the difficulties associated with relocating the connex. “With no roads and that terrain, sling-loading (the connex) was the only way they could have gotten it there.”

 

“(The remote area) was selected due to its proximity to the location of target areas chosen for the removal and eradication of invasive species, and the connex would serve as temporary shelter for the (Invasive Species Strike Team),” said Jason Hanley, a member of the USFWS and team leader for ISST.

“The connex will replace the need for temporary base camps and provide safety and shelter in an environment that is very extreme, due to topography and weather,” said Hanley, adding that the connex saves ISST time from setting up and breaking down camp, allowing more time to eradicate invasive species.

Dutcher said that in situations like this, hand-in-hand cooperation between the USFWS and 25th CAB shows that the U.S. Army can be an accommodating partner within the community.

“The Hillclimbers deserve recognition for their efforts and expertise,” Hanley said. “Their professionalism allowed for the mission to be carried out perfectly, according to plan. Hats off to all of the (Soldiers) involved.”

 

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Category: News, Sustainability

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