News: Aviation soldiers convert liters to gallons
Story by Spc. Hector Rene Membreno-Canales
GARRISON WAINWRIGHT, Alberta – Soldiers of the Colorado National Guard, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (2-135th AR), are participating in the Canadian Army’s largest exercise of the year, Exercise Maple Resolve 2014 (EX MR14) here May 5-June 1.
Colorado’s 2-135th AR is the air support element during Maple Resolve. For younger National Guard and Reserve soldiers, this may be the closest training they get to an actual deployment.
“I have two specialists who have never left the United States. This exercise is an opportunity to get them trained up and experienced,” said Staff Sgt. Juan Ramirez, a petroleum supply specialist in the 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion.
Exercise Maple Resolve is an opportunity for service members to sharpen their skills during training. “We’re staying busy. We’re pumping fuel. So far, we’ve pumped over 20,000 gallons,” said Ramirez. Pumping that much fuel is no easy task, but doing it in a foreign country comes with its own challenges.
The success of EX MR14 isn’t only measured in liters and gallons but also in readiness.
“Prior to coming [to EX MR14], we spent a good two or three drills [practicing] loading, off-loading and crowd control. That may seem rather simple but it’s not, especially when things get chaotic during an emergency,” said Staff Sgt. John Zeitlin, a UH-72A Lakota crew chief of Delta Company. 140 Medevac, Colorado National Guard. “No one wants to lose a fellow soldier, and when an emergency happens, there’s a lot of things and people moving around. We need to take control, because this can get dangerous.”
There are many moving parts to a successful mission both during peacetime as well as in theater. Cooperation and teamwork is needed from every soldier to complete a common mission.
“A lot of this is about building a partnership we can come back to. It’s about focusing on that level of coordination,” said Staff Sgt. Cornelius Griffin, unit supply specialist, 2-135th AR. “These exercises are important because they help us to build partnerships with other countries. If we have to work together during a deployment we’ll already be familiar with each other’s equipment and terms, thanks to joint exercises during Maple Resolve.”
The 2-135 AG has worked closely with their Canadian counterparts to ensure relationship building, equipment familiarization, and joint training is a success.
Many Canadian troops had similar things to say.
“Every time we work with a different organization, whether that be domestically or internationally, there are a huge number of learning points that come from it,” said Cpt. Douglas Gardner, Chinook pilot, of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Petawawa, Ontario.
These exercises can be crucial to integrate organizations that don’t work together daily.
“By exercising it here, in a training format, you have the opportunity to identify where the strengths lie, as well as errors,” said Gardner.