News: Private trains for upcoming deployment
Story by Sgt. Tracy R. Myers
FORT POLK, La. — New soldiers of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Shadow are preparing for the unknown at the Joint Readiness Training Center here during the month of January.
Veteran soldiers have confidence in their abilities to operate and survive a deployment because they have done it before, while the new soldiers do not.
Soldiers like Pvt. Larry Corwin, native of Midland, Mich., who recently enlisted in the Army and has no deployment experience, leaving them unsure of their capabilities.
Corwin enlisted last year to become a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter maintainer, and joined D Company, 6th Battalion, 101st CAB at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan with Task Force Shadow.
He has wanted to be a soldier since he was a boy, said Corwin who joined when he was 23.
“Our new soldiers want to know that they are trained for the mission they will see while deployed,” said Lt. Col. Joel Aoki, 6th Battalion, 101st CAB commander. “This is a premier training venue to allow soldiers to conduct task force operations and put them in situations that allow them to operate outside their normal duties, solving problems and allowing them to succeed.”
While the Army is careful to limit the time soldiers spend away from home due to frequent deployments, Task Force Shadow is taking advantage of this training opportunity for the benefit of every soldier.
“As a unit we are concerned with managing the amount of time we are away from home station, which limits our time in the field,” said Aoki. “However, we focus on training based on our operational requirements.”
Corwin had the opportunity to experience deployment style missions, preparing him and fellow untried soldiers for their upcoming deployment.
He was able to participate in downed aircraft recover missions, where helicopter maintainers venture into hostile territory in order to return sensitive items, equipment and aircraft back to safe ground.
Corwin enjoyed his experience at JRTC, where he was able to gain the confidence of his leaders and trust in himself to overcome any fears he had before, he said.
“I am really looking forward to this deployment,” said Corwin. “I feel more prepared than before coming here.”
He said he has always been fascinated with mechanics, working on cars and automobiles, which is why he chose to work on helicopters when he joined the Army. While Corwin works on helicopters on a daily basis, he has never had the opportunity to ride in one until now.
Corwin and other soldiers now have the mission knowledge and confidence to operate successfully down range after training at JRTC prior to their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.