25th CAB holds off ‘enemy,’ recovers downed bird

| November 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — With bullets ricocheting off the frame of a downed aircraft, a team of aviation mechanics assigned to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, frantically tried to fix the aircraft’s problem.

The infantry could not provide security during the mission, and the mechanics had to secure the area themselves.

Enemy combatants tried to move in closer, but the security team remained vigilant and held them off.

As the mechanics were turning wrenches and the security teams returned fire, Spc. Adam Hatchell, a UH-60 helicopter repairer, was shot in the arm and bleeding heavily.

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Staff Sgt. Jeffrey VanCamp, a section chief, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, grabbed his aid bag and rushed to his injured Soldier. Simultaneously, the maintenance team assessed the damage to the aircraft and determined the only option was to sling load.

 

DART

This may sound like the plot of an action movie, but in reality, it was an exciting training exercise to hone the skills of the 25th CAB Downed Aircraft Recovery Teams, or DART.

“I wanted this training to be beneficial, yet entertaining,” said 1st Lt. Guy White, pilot and shops platoon leader, 209th Avn. “Each team had a maximum of four hours on the objective. The biggest reason for this was to highlight and validate their ability to function in a crunched time frame.”

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The 25th CAB enlisted the help of 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regiment, 3rd Bde. Combat Team, to provide several classes on basic infantry tactics. In addition, infantrymen would also evaluate the Soldiers during the exercise and give them advice during certain situations. As a result, the scenarios were not only realistic, but also challenged the Soldiers’ technical and tactical knowledge.

“When we contacted 2-35th Inf., they were more than happy to support. It was great having them around to evaluate the leadership, (give) reaction to contact and security,” White said.

The teams used real-world assets, such as medical evacuation and heavy lift. They were even air assaulted into the location. This method added a degree of difficulty to the training.

“Bringing in the other units for this training highlights not just our ability, but theirs as well,” White said. “This training was a way for me to validate what my DART team can do. It gives a commander an idea of what his Soldiers are capable of and what he need to focus on for training.”

White, a former drill sergeant and now platoon leader, wanted to focus the training on the younger Soldiers in the brigade. He believes that getting them involved and excited about training will potentially keep talented Soldiers in the Army.

“When you empower your Soldiers, you get more results from your Soldiers,” White said. “We are opening their eyes to the bigger picture and showing them where they fit in. When a Soldier does their work the right way, he is saving a crew’s life on an aircraft, which in turn saves a guy on the ground. When they see it all come together, it’s priceless,” White said.

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