News: Wranglers’ sling load training lifts off
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers with the 664th Ordnance Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, hooked up for sling load training Aug. 29.
The sling load training is an annual requirement for the ordnance soldiers in order to refresh their skills in attaching a load of supplies to the underside of a helicopter in order to airlift into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible by any other means.
The training is a critical task for the soldiers in order to get ammunition to certain remote locations can be the difference in life or death for fellow soldiers as maneuvering in and around the battlefields is not always a task that can be completed on the ground.
“It’s very important to us; it’s part of our job,” said Spc. Eddie Barnes, ammunition specialist, 664th Ord. Company. “If we don’t know how to accomplish this task, than we will be unable to get ammo out to soldiers in the field.”
This job is extra important when soldiers deploy to ensure that all soldiers have access to adequate supplies.
“This is very important, if we can’t get the ammunition to the warfighter, they won’t have what they need to do their job,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Williams, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the training, 664th Ord. Company. “When we go into a theater of operations, not everyone has access to ammunition and the only way they can get it is to take it in aerial.”
The sling load operation is a dangerous task on the ground requiring three separate grounds personnel to work in harmony to ensure all appropriate safety measures are being taken.
One soldier is required to be the eyes of the pilot from the ground in order to guide the helicopter into place while the other two people are underneath to safely connect the load to the underside of the helicopter before it can take off again.
“If one guy doesn’t do his job, than the other guys can’t, and shouldn’t,” said Williams. “It’s important."
Although it was another day of training for the soldiers, it was also a stimulating opportunity to break away from the standard grind.
“It feels like your putting yourself in danger, which makes it exciting, and that makes it fun,” said Pvt. Eric Lindsey, ammunition specialist, 664th Ord. Company.