News: Training failures provide training benefits
Story by Sgt. Shanika Futrell
FORT POLK, La. - "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." -- author Napoleon Hill
Training prepares the troops for real-world engagements, providing room for failure and room for improvement for future training events.
"A successful mission has a multitude of things incorporated into the equation -- hard work, dedication, taking notes during constructive criticism, learning from failure, paying attention detail, and remembering that communication is key," said Sgt. Mario Smith, a signal support specialist team leader for 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, "Task Force Wings".
These are the lessons that the soldiers of TF Wings learned during a field exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center near Fort Polk, La., Oct. 6.
"Our mission objective was to ensure the troops on the ground were comfortable conducting missions they haven't had to do in years," said Capt. Matt Cox, the commander of Company C, TF Wings.
The CH-47F Chinook aircrew landed in an open field, and ready were the air assault-qualified flight engineers to teach ground troops how to prepare a slingload properly for a UH-60 Black Hawk and a Ch-47F Chinook. The flight engineers jumped out of the aircraft and greeted the eager ground troops.
"Hello, I am specialist Williams," said Spc. Josiah Williams, a CH-47F Chinook flight engineer for TF Wings. "Who certified these loads today?"
A sergeant first class raised his hand, and the two walked over to the load to verify it was ready to be hooked on the aircraft.
Sgt. Ben McHugh, a CH-47F Chinook flight engineer for TF Wings, said, due to wear and tear to the slingload equipment, there was potential harm to ground troops as well as the aircraft and crew on board.
Cox and the safety officer declared the slingload was unsafe, and the training was aborted.
"Safety is paramount, and we do not want a soldier getting hurt or to destroy much needed and expensive equipment because we didn't take the time to ensure all bases were covered," Cox said.
The ground troops were disappointed they did not conduct the mission, but this opportunity gave them enough time to order the equipment needed and review safe loading procedures before training again.
"We will continue to go out there and train them on what right looks like to protect all personnel and equipment from harm," said Cox. "We know this is something they do not do every day, so we will help our fellow soldiers out in every way we can."
Training is the foundation of everything soldiers do.
"This is the time and place for mistakes," said McHugh. "In the training environment is where we hone our skills, so that when we deploy we are more fluent with the process and flawless with our outcome."