News: 166th AV to execute helocast during Best Ranger competition
By 1st Lt. Katherine Kalsiki, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas, — First Army is hosting its very own Best Ranger Competition here this week to select a team to go on to compete nationally next spring at the Army’s Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.
For the average individual, the two days of competition would appear to be comprised of fairly grueling activities. But, the competitors are not your ordinary, everyday soldiers. They are Ranger-qualified personnel with the drive and aptitude to compete vigorously to become the next best Rangers.
“This is an all-encompassing test that measures the soldiers’ full Army skill set in a crunch-time environment,” said Capt. Steven Wax of the 166th Aviation Brigade’s operations section.
Two teams consisting of two soldiers each – one team from Division West and one team from Division East – will conduct 12- and eight-mile foot marches, a 2 1/2-mile buddy run, an obstacle course, a 400-meter swim, and more. The teams will maneuver post-wide across Fort Hood’s vast terrain, and even into the greater Belton community, with a panel of judges assessing them both objectively and subjectively.
The objective standard measures an overall pass or fail, Wax said, while the subjective criteria include motivation, determination, attention to detail and “intestinal fortitude.”
To facilitate the competition, First Army brigades are coordinating and overseeing designated events. What makes the competition so unique for the 166th Aviation Brigade, in particular, is the unit’s role in the helocast event.
Helocasting is a technique used to insert individuals or small teams into a body of water via helicopter.
“Typically, the bird hovers at approximately 10 knots and 10 feet above the water’s surface, allowing a Soldier to jump tactically out of the helicopter into the body of water, and then (continue to) his objective,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Adler Jr., 166th Aviation Brigade Operations.