A Company "Werewolves" spearhead assault training
September 18, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- For the first time in a long time, aircrews of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, began training for the repel air assault, here Sept., 14.
Pilots and crews of A Company "Werewolves," 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, flew out in support of Fort Hood's Air Assault School in order to certify pilots and crews and to also support the school's training of their students.
Despite poor weather, the day's training went along as planned, mainly due to the professionalism of the 1st ACB, said Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Gomez, of San Antonio, the repel master in charge of the class.
Gomez said he was happy with the results, and that thorough planning, direct communication, and superb coordination allowed for the operation to run as smoothly as it did.
Spc. Christopher Remakis, a native of Sicklerville, N.J., a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew chief for the Werewolves, was a "first-time-go" being certified for the repel assault and showed enthusiasm toward the new training.
"It was pretty neat seeing [the students] go through their training and to see how proficient the repel masters were, as I was working on my proficiency at the task at hand," Remakis said, who recently returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Remakis said that the mission set was different for him, as was the pace of the training since he was so used to the speed and efficiency of the real-time mission as opposed to the slower pace of first-time training.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shawn Rodgers, of Charleston, S.C., and an instructor pilot for the Werewolves, was one of the pilots who qualified and helped support the air assault school. Rodgers talked about what made the repel different to him and what it meant to the unit's mission.
"I've never done a repel assault before," Rodgers said.
"I've always landed, and the fact that there is someone hanging onto a rope outside your aircraft makes it a very different mission," Rodgers added. "There's more danger, these guys could get hurt, and that's what makes the repel different to me."
Rodgers went on to make clear how important this was to the 3-227th AHB's mission set and what it could mean for the future.
"A repel operation is always riskier. The first option will always be to land and to let people on and off the aircraft; what this does though is allow us to be able to provide more options to the ground trooper, the war-fighters, those who we call the customer," Rodgers said.
"In the end it's all about the war-fighters and supporting them the best we can," Rodgers concluded.