News: 2-6 CAV loads OH-58Ds on Air Force C-17
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii – Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted static load training with loadmasters of 535th Airlift Squadron, 15th Air Wing on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 7.
Soldiers and aviators practiced loading an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior rotary wing aircraft in a C-17 Globemaster III fixed wing aircraft in preparation for contingency operations in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility if needed.
“The training educated soldiers on vital tasks they will use down the road,” said Staff Sgt. Aaron Nefe, platoon sergeant with Troop A, 2-6 CAV, 25th CAB, who is originally from Spring, Texas.
Soldiers from each troop attended academic classes on Wheeler Army Airfield to familiarize themselves with the proper procedures for transporting an aircraft. The next phase of training allowed soldiers to rehearse preparing the aircraft for transport.
Phase three brought the soldiers here to conduct hands on training with Air Force C-17 loadmasters.
“Integrating the training with the Air Force allowed the soldiers to see first hand how the Kiowa [Warrior] is prepped and loaded,” Nefe said. “It also provided the opportunity for both branches to learn about the other’s aircraft. They also got to experience what it is like to work with the other branches.”
Each group of soldiers learned to load the OH-58D nose first and tail first to allow for flexibility when loading multiple helicopters in a fixed wing aircraft.
“This training was realistic by working with the Air Force,” said Pfc. Nathan Verden, an OH-58D crew chief assigned to Troop C, 2-6 CAV, 25th CAB, originally from Fort Worth, Texas. “It was great to see how the C-17 operates and how the Kiowa [Warrior] fits in the C-17.”
The soldiers gained a better understanding of the loading process by observing their peers.
“When I was loading the aircraft, I was focused on doing my job and staying safe,” said Verden. “I did not fully understand why the commands were given when they were until I saw it from a far. Now I understand why everyone was where they were during the process.”
The training allows the unit to rapidly deploy to any location. The next step for the soldiers is learning to load multiple aircraft. The C-17 Globemaster III is capable of carrying six OH-58D Kiowa Warriors.