News: Manchus reach new heights
Story by Sgt. Juan F. Jimenez
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea –“One minute,” yelled the crew chief to the soldiers in his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. “20 seconds,” he called out. As soon as the Black Hawk touched the ground the soldiers, strapped with 70 pounds of their personal equipment, jump out laying suppressive fire as they hit the ground. The scene did not look like utter chaos because these soldiers, from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigaded Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, knew exactly what to do.
For two days more than 100 “Manchu” soldiers from Company A perfected their air assault mission at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex.
“There air assault mission is something soldiers don’t get to do often,” said 1st Sgt. Danny Davis, the company’s senior enlisted noncommissioned officer, and native of Fayetteville, N.C. “Over the period of two days these soldiers conducted drills and rehearsals. Making sure the soldiers stay motivated and focused during training was [the company commander and my] intent and goal.”
The hours of practice paid off because the soldiers were able to demonstrate they can drop into an area and quickly target the enemy.
"The most dangerous part during an air assault is landing and assaulting the objective," said Davis. "That was definitely something we spent quite a bit of time on rehearsing and making sure we knew what to expect and making sure each key element knew where they were going."
A typical air assault mission will have several rotary wing aircrafts drop off soldiers simultaneously. So preparing for all possible “Murphy’s law” scenarios is part of this training.
“There are so many moving parts that just in itself makes this [the air assault mission] challenging,” said Sgt.1st Class James H. Clayton, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, Co. A. “Conducting an air assault isn't something these soldiers get to do often so this opportunity allows the unit to expand their training in an offensive manner.”
Pvt. Ryan M. Barr, a rifleman and a native of Seattle, said he has several reasons to be excited about this training – his first time on a helicopter, first air assault mission and first exercise with his company.
“The ride on the Black Hawk was a rush,” explained Barr, who arrived to the company straight from infantry school. “When I heard my sergeant yell ‘Go,’ my adrenaline kicked in and muscle memory took over. Everything was smooth with no surprises.”
With the mission concluding as planned, the soldiers received the training their leaders intended, demonstrating that they are always ready to fight.
“No matter the terrain or weather, we have the capability to come down on them [enemy] at any moment,” said Clayton.