By Chad L. SimonFebruary 2, 2018
Several units from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, worked together to conduct unique and important training on Marshall Army Airfield at Fort Riley Jan. 23-27.
Soldiers from the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade, teamed up to conduct fuel transportation delivery to 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, in Salina by using collapsible barrels containing 500 gallons of fuel per barrel called a blivet.
"This training is very important," said Codaris Garrett, Company A, 601st ASB, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., refueler. "It can be essential to the mission. If we can't get into certain areas, we can use the sling load to get the mission done."
Usually the "Guardians" utilize refueling trucks to transport large amounts of fuel from point to point, so using the CH-47 Chinook helicopter to transport fuel keeps the Soldiers ready to perform missions at all times.
"We do refueling missions all the time, but typically we use our ground assets to do so," said Maj. Quinton Leath, 601st ASB, 1st CAB, 1st Inf. Div., support operations officer. "This is the first time we have actually used the aviation platform to execute a refueling operation.
"With the sling load operation, you can actually sling more gas under the belly of the aircraft utilizing the 500-gallon blivets. We just need training. It is highly important that the first time they (Soldiers) do this type of operation would not be when they are forward deployed."
Leath and other experienced Soldiers feel it is their responsibility to lead, and show the less-experienced Soldiers everything they have learned throughout their time in the Army.
"We are talking about a generation of Soldiers that have zero combat experience and may not get much combat experience," Leath said, "whereas those of us that are part of the (Global War on Terrorism) generation, we have multiple iterations of deployments. We have done this multiple times, so it critical for some of us older guys to ensure that training and knowledge is not lost from one generation of Soldiers to the next."