PRTs arrive first on scene of aircraft incidents
Story and photos by Capt. Richard Barker
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING SHINDAND, Afghanistan — Pathfinders from Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Avn. Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, trained a battalion of Soldiers how to operate a newly formed Personnel Recovery Team, or PRT, here, recently.
The Soldiers, who belong to the 3rd Battalion, 158th Avn. Regiment, were recently attached to 25th CAB’s “Task Force Storm” when its parent unit, 12th CAB, redeployed to its home station in Germany.
“We immediately began working with Task Force Storm to build a responsive and capable PRT to respond to any downed aircraft event across the wide expanse of terrain in Regional Command-West,” said Col. Frank Tate, commander, 25th CAB.
A PRT is the first element to arrive at a scene in the event of an aircraft crash or forced landing. The team provides security and emergency medical care, when necessary, and recovers personnel.
“It is important for all aviation units to have their own Personal Recovery Team, so they can secure their own downed pilots,” said Staff Sgt. David Taber, senior Pathfinder instructor, F/2-25th CAB.
Taber was selected to advise and assist in the team’s development.
“Never leave a fallen comrade is part of the words we live by,” Taber said.
As a Pathfinder, Taber infiltrates areas and sets up parachute drop zones and helicopter landing zones for airborne and air assault missions.
The PRT consists mainly of volunteers from all companies within TF Storm. While the Soldiers on the team all had their own reasons for volunteering, most of them followed a similar theme.
“If we can do more than our given jobs to contribute to the team, then that’s what being a Soldier is all about,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Greer, noncommissioned officer in charge, PRT and career counselor for Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 3-158th Avn. Regt.
“I think this is a great opportunity for 25th CAB to come down and support us,” Greer added. “The visit has been very motivational, and it feels good to know we have higher support.”
Spc. Nicholas Ketchum, aircraft powertrain repairer, Co. D, 3-158th Avn. Regt., volunteered for the team.
“This is something not everyone gets a chance to do,” Ketchum said. “It’s important because we have the potential to save lives.” and make a difference.”