“In case of an emergency, stand up and exit the helicopter”

| August 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
2nd BCT Soldiers leap from the back ramp of a CH-47 Chinook.  Even experienced swimmers can have trouble when swimming in their uniforms and boots.

2nd BCT Soldiers leap from the back ramp of a CH-47 Chinook. Even experienced swimmers can have trouble when swimming in their uniforms and boots.

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis
2nd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

KANEOHE BAY — Helocasting from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter off the coast of Hawaii sounds like the perfect scene for a big screen action movie or military recruiting video.

For Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, it’s all about sharpening critical survival skills and building confidence.

Aug. 9, the 2nd BCT joined fellow Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Avn. Bde., 25th Infantry Division, to participate in Mai Kai Leap II, an overwater training exercise, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, here.

“Since we operate over water every day, flying equipment or Soldiers to PTA (Pohakuloa Training Area) or some of the other islands, it is important that our crew members and passengers understand how to survive in the water in case there is an emergency,” said Lt. Col. Andy Graham, commander, 3-25th Avn.

With the focus on safety and readiness, Lightning Division Soldiers practiced helocast insertion and extraction utilizing both the CH-47 Chinook and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, while overall gaining confidence in their surroundings and building cohesion across their formations.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii Ð On Aug. 9, the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team joined fellow Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, to participate in Mai Kai Leap II, an overwater training exercise, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2016. This realistic training focused on water survivability, building unit cohesion and improving unit readiness across the Lightning Division formations. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/Released).

The realistic training focused on water survivability, building unit cohesion and improving unit readiness across the Lightning Division formations.

“This is a great opportunity to build the partnership throughout the division and build one cohesive team, which is so important across the Army,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Spear, senior enlisted adviser assigned to 1-14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT. “However, looking back at the train-up, we lost a lot of Soldiers who couldn’t swim more than 25 meters. Now, with that being said, we also conduct a lot of our training over at PTA, which causes us to fly back and forth from Oahu, so we must have our Soldiers comfortable with their surroundings, whether it’s in the water, on land or up in air, just in case anything goes wrong.”

According to Staff Sgt. Nathan Sanchez, flight medic, 3-25th Avn., even though Soldiers failed prequalifying train-up requirements, it’s not a knock on them, because even strong swimmers panic at times in diverse situations.

“You can have a strong swimmer who swims like a fish in a bathing suit, but take that same swimmer and have them swim in their uniform and boots, and they panic and they might not be as good as they thought,” said Sanchez.

To prepare the Warrior Brigade Soldiers for the challenges of helocast training, the aviation Soldiers take an approach that uses controlled and open water areas.

“We start the Soldiers off in the pool and go through a crawl, walk and run type of training, where we have Soldiers tread water for five minutes in the pool, go over the hand and arm signals, practice climbing the ladder that we hook up on the diving platforms,” Sanchez said. “They jump from the diving platforms to simulate jumping from the aircraft.”

A Warrior Brigade Soldier is helped into a CH-47 Chinook by aviators from 3-25th CAB. The Mai Kai Leap II helocast training also used a UH-60 Black Hawk.

A Warrior Brigade Soldier is helped into a CH-47 Chinook by aviators from 3-25th CAB. The Mai Kai Leap II helocast training also used a UH-60 Black Hawk.

After Soldiers pass the pool qualifications, they repeat the swimming requirements in the ocean (backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and tread water for 20 minutes). Finally, the entire crew loads the life raft and swims it to shore, Sanchez said.

By going through an intensive amount of training, it allows the Soldiers to become familiar with the equipment, and it also builds confidence in everyone’s abilities.

“This is something that is exciting. This isn’t the typical type of training we conduct on a daily basis, so to have the opportunity to come out here and do this, I was all in,” said Sgt. Dino Rois, infantryman, Co. A, 1-14th Inf. Regt. “Over the past couple of weeks, we did a lot of training to get to this point, so I was just nervous about not letting them down. This was a good confidence test to improve everyone’s ability under pressure, and it’s very different compared to everything else we have done here.”

By conducting helocast training, the Lightning Division was able build unit cohesion and improves unit readiness across its formations.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii Ð On Aug. 9, the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team joined fellow Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, to participate in Mai Kai Leap II, an overwater training exercise, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2016. This realistic training focused on water survivability, building unit cohesion and improving unit readiness across the Lightning Division formations. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/Released).

The 2nd BCT  joins with the 3-25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division for Mai Kai Leap II, an overwater training exercise, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii,  Aug. 9,

Tags: , , , ,

Category: News, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *