By Staff Sgt. Vincent AbrilOctober 21, 2013
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- As pilots and crew members maneuver aircraft seamlessly through mountains and valleys, their mission is to deter aggression and be ready to 'Fight to Tonight.'
Soldiers from Company B, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade conducts countless training missions throughout the year as the only aviation brigade in Korea.
Pilots and crew members must be on top of their game to ensure all missions are completed in a safe and efficient manner while flying the CH-47D Chinook helicopter. One of the intense requirements these crews must overcome are completing many hours of training during adverse weather. This job may sound bleak to some, but for one Soldier there is more than a small amount of enthusiasm as he trains as a crew member in Korea.
A Moundville, Mo., native Army Pfc. Wesley A. Smith a crew chief with Company B, 3-2 GSAB sharpened his skills while conducting sling-load operations Oct. 3, 2013 at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex and is thrilled at the opportunity to work on this powerful machine.
"It's an awesome experience and we do a lot of cool missions here," Smith says. "Thiers nobody that can beat us and we can do almost any mission any other bird can do. We haul people and cargo and we can provide cover-fire. It's just an awesome bird."
The CH-47D Chinook helicopter, a 50,000 pound workhorse to the U.S. Army since 1962, is used to transport Soldiers, supplies, and other cargo critical in the support of worldwide training and real world operations. With its many capabilities, this helicopter can cruise the skies at 170 knots or 184 mph and lifts up to 26,000 pounds of cargo in a sling load. Some affectionately call this helicopter the "Fat Cow" for its ability to also carry three internal fuel tanks, which makes it possible to refuel other aircraft while out on missions.
"The Chinook holds the top title amongst Army helicopters," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher O. Thorn, a CH-47D maintenance test pilot with Company B, 3rd GSAB and a native of Marquand, Mo. "Of all the Army aircraft, as far as helicopters go, this one flies the highest, the fastest, carries the most and will go the farthest."
Company B, 3-2 GSAB continues to train conducting air assaults and sling-load operations all while moving cargo and passengers across the peninsula. When you see a Chinook overhead on the Korean peninsula, more than likely it is Company B, 3-2 GSAB, also known as the "Innkeepers," who remain committed to the 2nd Infantry Division's mission to support the U.S.-Republic of Korea Alliance, while constantly demonstrating their ability to "Fight Tonight".