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    Florida Guard door gunners conduct Aerial Gunnery training in Camp Shelby

    Florida Guard door gunners conduct Aerial Gunnery training in Camp Shelby

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Carmen Fleischmann | A Soldier with the Florida National Guard's Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 1st...... read more read more

    HATTIESBURG, MS, UNITED STATES

    04.22.2016

    Story by Staff Sgt. Carmen Fleischmann 

    107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. (APRIL 21, 2016) – While the remainder of Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment conduct annual training at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, a select group of individuals with a vital set of skills, required training a little more off-site.

    Bravo Company, Detachment 1 traveled from Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla. to Camp Shelby, Miss. this week to qualify their CH-47F (Chinook) door gunners for an upcoming deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Commander of Detachment 1, 1st Lt. Robert Borger, deployed in 2011 with the entire 1-111th Aviation Battalion. Their mission was to move equipment and personnel out of Iraq. Without the same specifically detailed mission as last time, his Soldiers need to be prepared for anything, and the training and qualifications they completed at Camp Shelby help them accomplish this task.

    “They’re more prepared being able to shoot the aerial gunnery, being able to fire their weapons from the aircraft if that becomes necessary while we’re overseas,” said Borger. “This way the first time they will do it won’t be in a combat environment. They’ve done it before. They know what it’s like, they know the smell, they know the feeling; they know the calls. It will still be different over there because it will be the real thing.”

    Approximately 15 door gunners completed the Aerial Gunnery training at Camp Shelby, some of them with prior deployment experience.

    Army Sgt. Jarrod Linton, served as a gunner during the previous 1-111 deployment and is once again up for the challenge.

    “I think this mission is going to be a little different. Last time we were in Iraq, we were closing it down,” said Linton.

    While a part of the Aviation field prior to the 2011 deployment, he was in a separate company than the Chinook crew members and pilots. In fact he was a members of the Air Operation Battalions, 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment. So although he was not originally trained to be a door gunner, he was able to integrate somewhat quickly, but that’s not necessarily the case for those outside the aviation field.

    “It’s a little bit of a change for most people that are coming from a ground unit,” he said, “but those we have integrated pretty well.”

    For this deployment door gunners from a variety of different careers have joined Bravo Company. Medics, infantrymen and an engineer have joined their ranks and have completed the training.

    One of these Soldiers, Staff Sgt. Gregory Fiorentino, a 12T Technical Engineer from Joint Forces Headquarters, volunteered as a door gunner for the deployment because it gave him a unique opportunity to serve his state and nation in a different capacity than what he’s used to.

    “I love aviation,” said Fiorentino. “The experience is a change of pace from what I do on a day-to-day basis.”

    Regardless of their backgrounds, the door gunners, the crew and pilots from Bravo Company’s Detachment 1 received yet another benefit from training in Miss. Making the trip afforded them the opportunity to interact with the other members of Bravo from the Mississippi National Guard.

    “It’s nice to come together as a whole company so we can meet face to face,” said Borger. “In the Chinook community, a lot of things, aircraft-wise, flying-wise, all those are still the same, so pretty much any Chinook pilot can integrate into a different company and all of the calls and things will be the same.”

    Bravo Company now returns to Florida to continue training with the remainder of their battalion.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.22.2016
    Date Posted: 04.22.2016 07:39
    Story ID: 196198
    Location: HATTIESBURG, MS, US 
    Hometown: HATTIESBURG, MS, US
    Hometown: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US
    Hometown: TALLAHASSEE, FL, US

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