CAMP CASEY, South Korea – The U.S. Army is a dangerous fighting force when conducting ground operations but when it is controlling the sky it is something special.
More than 40 soldiers from 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted sling-load training Nov. 21, 2013 at Camp Mobile, South Korea. The training prepared soldiers for real world missions transporting equipment using military helicopters.
“By completing this training it ensures us that if the road networks go out, we would still be able to supply the firing battalions with food, water and ammunition at all times,” said Capt Jeffrey Teplis, the assistant operations officer for 70th Brigade Support Battalion.
Since Teplis, a native of Marietta, Ga., isn’t air assault qualified himself, he understood that he needed some help to make this training successful.
Teplis coordinated UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter support from Company C, 2nd Battalion (Assault), 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade to come and assist with the training.
Noncommissioned officers from 70th BSB who are air assault qualified gave thorough and informative training to their soldiers for two days. They taught them hand and arm signals and how to properly attach sling legs to cargo prior to the live training.
“We learned how to properly communicate to the aircraft using hand and arms signals, the correct link count for the ammunition pods, and how to move around the aircraft safely to ensure they [pilots] know where we are at all times,” said Pvt. Nickoy Haughton, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It is very effective training.”
On the day the helicopters flew in, the soldiers felt confident because of the prior training.
“I couldn’t have pulled this off if it wasn’t for the noncommissioned officers in the unit,” said Teplis. “The NCOs took the lead for the training. They came up with the training plan and ensured the soldiers were proficient and confident with their skills before coming out here today.”
Haughton, a unit supply specialist assigned to Company B, 70th BSB, didn’t know what to expect when he was told he was going to be a part of the sling-load training.
“I was nervous and excited at the same time,” said Haughton. “It was great to come out here and conduct this type of training. It is something that I haven’t trained on since I’ve been in the Army.”
The soldiers were able to do effective and rewarding training as they expanded their knowledge with unfamiliar equipment.
“This training provides me the knowledge I need to know in order to keep the supply route active,” said Haughton.
The unit is planning to complete this same type of training every six months to ensure they have enough qualified personnel to conduct real world mission to defend the Republic of Korea.
“I look forward to going to field and hooking up live ammunition pods in the future,” said Haughton. “It’s good to train on the things that will better prepare us as a unit.”
By conducting air assault training, the soldiers of 210th Fires Brigade, were able to increase the unit’s readiness to "fight tonight!"