25th CAB spouses experience thrills, chills of Black Hawk orientation ride

| May 12, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spouses from HHC, 2nd AHB, 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, learn how to use the UH-60 Black Hawk’s seat belt restraint system before spouse-orientation flights at WAAF, April 26. The Spouse Flight Orientation Program is designed to give aviation spouses a better understanding of Army aviation.

Spouses from HHC, 2nd AHB, 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, learn how to use the UH-60 Black Hawk’s seat belt restraint system before spouse-orientation flights at WAAF, April 26. The Spouse Flight Orientation Program is designed to give aviation spouses a better understanding of Army aviation.

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

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Spouses were treated to rides in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, here, recently.

The highly-coveted aviation spouse rides were part of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division’s Aviation Week celebration. Aviation Week honors the Army’s aviation anniversary.

This is the 25th CAB’s third spouse orientation flight since 2008.

The most-experienced aviators with the 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 25th Avn. Regiment, 25th CAB, conducted the flights high above the island of Oahu. For most of the spouses, the flights were a rare chance to see and experience a Black Hawk.

“I’ve never rode in a helicopter, and my dad worked on helicopters all his life,” said Bernadette Obregon, whose spouse is with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd AHB, 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB. “But I never got a chance to actually ride one, so this was my first opportunity.

“It was fun, and I was glad they opened the doors for the flight,” she said. “I especially enjoyed the views of Pearl Harbor.”

The Spouse Orientation Flight Program is overseen by Appendix D, U.S. Forces Command Supplement 1 to Army Regulation 95-1, “Flight Regulations,” and it helps aviation unit spouses understand Army aviation. These short, safe flights are intended to help spouses influence career decisions of aviation Soldiers, ultimately increasing retention and improving overall morale.

“It’s awesome that it’s in the hearts and minds of the 25th (CAB), during high (operational-tempo), to take the time to foster the family bond between Soldiers and their spouses,” said Kari Harding, whose spouse is with HHC, 25th CAB.

The “Wings of Lightning” Brigade planned for contingencies, so risk would be minimized during the flights. Safety briefings were conducted for the spouses, plus they learned how to use the aircraft’s restraint system and how to safely enter and exit the aircraft during cold-load training. Also, crew members weren’t allowed to fly with their spouses.

Soldiers seemed genuinely excited that their spouses flew in Black Hawks, even during the brigade’s busy schedule, as the 25th CAB readies for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I think it’s outstanding, because we’ve been deploying so much,” said Staff Sgt. Ronald Harding, assistant operations noncommissioned officer in charge, HHC, 25th CAB. “We say we care about the families — well, this is one way our brigade has truly shown (it does). The fact that we are able to make some time to say ‘hey, come out here, and see what we do and why we do it’ is a great way to truly integrate the families.”

Aviation Week will culminate with the Army Aviation Association of America Ball that will include aviators from the Hawaii Army National Guard, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S Army-Pacific and Special Operations Command-Pacific.

 

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