KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – As dusk approached on Sept. 24 on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, a C-17 Globemaster III arrived to load two UH-60 Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopters for movement in support of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The Black Hawks were brought to Kandahar by C-5 Galaxies which are capable of carrying four UH-60s each. Moving rotary-wing aircraft on fixed-wing assets provide advantages such as longer range and the ability to transport multiple helicopters with the use of only one crew, which effectively saves money and increases safety.
The soldiers of the 25th CAB worked diligently to load the MEDEVAC helicopters from Company C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment who will be supporting 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Storm.
Two teams of 25th CAB soldiers were selected for the mission in order to available to receive and load the aircraft at any time. The selected soldiers were from 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, and 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.
“Our main challenge for this operation was the first load,” said Staff Sgt. Cain Hennings, CH-47 Section Sergeant, Company B, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th CAB, a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii. “We had to retrain our soldiers on the procedures and safety precautions for loading aircraft. The first load took us two and a half hours from start to finish; now we are under one hour.”
The soldiers loaded a total of 15 MEDEVAC aircraft in support of TF Storm.
“Everyone worked together great,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hector Aponte, production control officer, B/209th ASB, 25th CAB, also the officer-in-charge for the load-up operation. “The soldiers had a high level of proficiency during the mission. They completed the task with minimal instruction and no safety issues.”