Support Soldiers learn sling load standards, prepare for airdrop operations training
November 5, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- A December 2011 report in the Wall Street Journal discussed the growing importance of U.S. military airdropped supplies into combat areas such as Afghanistan.
Ensuring supply airdrops in future deployments are performed properly, 2nd Brigade Combat Team "Black Jack," 1st Cavalry Division, support Soldiers are scheduled to perform sling load operations in a series of airdrops this month.
To correctly perform the drops, Black Jack Soldiers conducted cold load training, here Oct. 30.
Soldiers spent the day learning safety, standards, loading and unloading personnel from a Chinook helicopter, and sling-load operations, Capt. Richard Martinez, deputy support operations officer said.
This combined brigade effort is vital to each Black Jack battalion, Martinez said. "Each battalion's support company should have a working knowledge on loading equipment and sling-load operations."
First lesson taught was on basic procedures when utilizing a helicopter for transportation of personnel and supplies.
"It is essential Soldiers know how to enter and exit a helicopter while ensuring the proper weight is maintained, equipment is secured properly and communications are working," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Gonzalez, a flight engineer instructor with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Div.
Gonzalez explained, Soldiers who understand the standards for sling-load operations ensure deliverable goods will not be damaged and personnel will arrive safely to their destination.
"Equipment loaders need to be fast but accurate. The safer sling loaders are, the less chance of injury to personnel and damage to the supplies," Gonzalez added.
Learning sling operations will also aid in a Soldiers competency during operations overseas.
"Knowing how sling load operations work is key to the resupply efforts in theater," Martinez explained.
"It is crucial to deliver supplies safely on the battlefield," said 1st Lt. Carl Rennie, a maintenance control officer with Delta Troop, 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT. "Supplies keep the battle moving and Soldiers fed."
Key factors with keeping accurate supply drops in combat come from practice, which builds confidence within sling load crews.
"As we create crews within our units they will learn to work together and become proficient in load operations," Rennie stated.
"With confidence comes competency. The more confident Soldiers are in sling and equipment load operations, the quicker and safer our resupply operations take place during a deployment," Martinez said.
Martinez added Black Jack Soldiers would be prepared for sling load operations training scheduled this month, with a cold-load training refresher scheduled for March 2013.