Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii - After several weeks of preparation, pilots from 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, re-established their ties with their Infantry brothers during their first air assault training operation since returning from deployment, at Wheeler Army Airfield (WAAF), Nov. 30.

More than 160 Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 25th Infantry Division (ID), were staged at WAAF's Hill Climber Ramp to practice tactical entries, exits and extractions with the aid of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from 25th CAB.

"[This was our first chance] since returning from deployment to restore ties with the infantry brigades at Schofield and do some air assault training," said Capt. Matthew Smalley, who served as the air mission commander for the training.

Although this was just a field exercise, the purpose of the training was to ultimately get 3-4 Cav. ready for their deployment. The training will not only help prepare them for their National Training Center (NTC) rotation but for their rotation to Afghanistan as well," Smalley commented.

As the teams gather on the ready line, the silence of the morning was broken by the booming voice of each team sergeant's, "Let's go!" The Troops rushed toward the UH-60s to conduct "cold-load" training.

During cold-load training, crew chiefs instruct Soldiers how to safely mount and dismount the aircraft, prone positioning when securing a potentially hostile area, positioning of their weapons during flight, and rotor blades awareness.

First Lieutenant Luke Hininger, a platoon leader for 2nd Platoon's B Troop, 3-4 Cav., 3rd IBCT, 25th ID, said the training was important because it provided alternative transport for troops who rely primarily on Humvee armored vehicles and because of all the new Troops in the battalion.

"This is the first time most of [our] Troops have ever been in a Black Hawk," said Hininger. The objective is for it to be automatic for them," said the platoon leader.

Each eight man team practiced cold-load exercises multiple times before boarding four UH-60 helicopters for the 10 minute flight and insertion at the landing zone at nearby East Range.
One Troop said the training was daunting, but necessary.

"I was a little nervous at first, because I have never been in a helicopter before. After I relaxed, it was an amazing experience," said Pvt. 2 Darius Johnson, a mortar man assigned to B Troop, 3-4 Cav. 3rd IBCT, 25th ID. "Getting the chance to deploy out of a helicopter was definitely exciting."
First Sergeant James Butler, first sergeant of B Trp, 3-4 Cav., 3rd IBCT, 25th ID, gave 25th CAB and the training high marks.

"The aviation support from the 25th CAB was outstanding," said Butler. The UH-60 training and air assault operations went very smooth, and the insertion was an outstanding opportunity for [us] to maneuver at a troop level. The training will aid us greatly as we prepare for [our] upcoming training at NTC."

Page last updated Wed December 15th, 2010 at 14:49