News: Are you ready?
Story by Maj. Will Cox
ATLANTA - Army National Guardsmen not only train on their drill weekends and their annual training, but they also train routinely on weeknights to meet their annual flying requirements. In fact Army National Guard aircrew members have the same requirements that their active counter parts maintain.
The key to ARNG aircrew members proficiency near Marietta is Georgia Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility #2 that is open most week nights and weekends to launch and recover aircraft. AASF#2 ensures the crews have everything they need to plan and coordinate for their flight in addition to conducting required maintenance on four unique airframes consisting of UH-60L Black Hawks, HH-60M (MEDEVAC) Black Hawks, LUH-72 Lakotas and the C-26 Metroliner.
“The Army Aviation Support Facility is the heart and hub of Army National Guard aviation readiness,” said Lt. Col. Jason Fryman AASF #2 commander. “Our mission is to safely conduct all flight operations, training and standardization for aircrew members and ensure the operational readiness of aircraft [through maintenance]. We do this to not only meet their annual requirements, but to ensure they are a fully capable force.”
One of the flight companies is Det. 1, Charlie Company 1-111th General Support Aviation Battalion composed of six HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. This company returned Christmas day 2011 from a yearlong deployment to Iraq where it was charged with the responsibility of providing aero-medical evacuation coverage during the United States Forces-Iraq final movement out of Iraq.
“On any given week the part-time [traditional] aircrew members of the C/1-111th can fly upwards of 30 hours for support missions, continuation training, or evaluations,” said Capt. Matthew Alexander Det. 1, C/1-111th GSAB commander. “This is obviously a huge time commitment away from the civilian work force, and therefore demands that all pieces of the support facility function in a seamless fashion so that time can be utilized as efficiently as possible. Due to the hard work of the AASF#2 [civil service] technicians the C/1-111th is able to stay mission focused and mission ready without compromising our citizen soldier’s civilian responsibilities.”
Detachment 1, Charlie 1-111th GSAB sends their aircrew members to train out of the AASF#2 most week nights to build aircrew capacity and capability. Due to promotions and retirements there is always a need to train new aircrew members. Also aircrew members must practice demanding tasks such as hoist operations to maintain their ability to accomplish these demanding missions safely.
“I believe the strength of our nation is our military,” said Fryman. “And our citizens and our nation expect a ready and fully capable force to answer the call. For the army aviation National Guardsman, that standard of readiness happens right here at the AASF.”