HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – The OH-58 Kiowa helicopter is the only Army helicopter capable of being made compact and placed into a C-130 aircraft. Equipment recently implemented by Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment displayed just how rapidly the helicopter can be prepared to deploy.
The “Silver Spurs” troop showcased the Multipurpose Light Helicopter (MPLH) kits on the flight line of Hunter Army Airfield Feb. 27. These kits provide multi-mission flexibility for rapid deployment relocation for their helicopters.
This means that the Kiowa helicopter could be placed on an aircraft, and soon within 30 minutes conduct reconnaissance mission for ground forces and other aviation operations.
Staff Sgt. Eric Rogers, platoon sergeant for Troop A, led the team of soldiers through the equipment demonstration. His job was to conduct checks of the equipment during the build up and ensure the team emplaces the equipment safely. He says his job is more important than checking properly emplaced pins and brackets. He and his team are preparing the aircraft to deploy, and quickly.
Rogers says with practice and improved proficiency the aircraft can be ready in 10 minutes.
“For today’s demonstration we were taking it slow and steady. This is a practice that has not been used in a while,” said Rogers.
Rogers said that the equipment usually is not used outside of Advanced Individual Training, mostly because of other options for moving aircraft.
When asked how the team performed, Rogers was confident.
“I think they performed well. I am very confident I can step away and any one of these guys can take over and they would know everything that needs to happen to configure the aircraft,” said Rogers.
Capt. Stephanie Hartley is the troop commander and agrees with Rogers. She thinks her team is extremely competent at what they are doing especially when you consider the unit has only trained with the gear for only a month.
“As a commander, it gives me the opportunity to push aircraft forward to the front line to do the recon mission out of a C-130 which no other helicopter can do,” said Hartley.
Pfc. Kevin Mraz, a 15J Aircraft Armament/Electronic/Avionic Systems with A/3-17, ensures that the mass mounted site—the large recognizable sphere atop of the aircraft—is taken down safely.
“I just really feel like part of the team,” said Mraz.