By Capt. Peter Smedberg (10th Mountain)July 24, 2014
WEST POINT -- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, deployed to Camp Buckner, inside the U.S. Military Academy training area July 15 to provide air-assault and troop movement support to USMA cadets participating in Cadet Summer Field Training.
The training exercise, scheduled to end Friday, is the second of two iterations supported by 10th CAB Soldiers.
The highlight of the exercise was a training air-assault mission in which cadets flew in UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters operated by members of B Company, 2-10 Aviation, in a nap-of-the-earth profile, before infiltrating a landing zone and seizing key terrain in order to conduct follow-on missions.
For many of the cadets, this air-assault mission was their first time in a helicopter.
"This flying is designed to get the cadets comfortable with the air-assault mentality," said Spc. Brandon Harris, a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crew chief from B Company, 2-10 Aviation. "We did some cold-load training with them a few days ago to set the baseline for it; now we are actually running at this full speed."
Before the air-assault mission, 10th CAB aviators instructed the cadets on basic aviation operations, since the majority of the training conducted at the U.S. Military Academy is focused on infantry tactics and leadership skills.
"This air-assault mission gives them a taste of what aviation is all about -- from planning missions to understanding how to establish a pick-up zone and conducting landing zone operations," said Capt. Kyle Murray, commander of B Company, 2-10 Aviation, and a USMA alumnus.
In addition to benefitting the USMA cadets participating in Cadet Summer Training, the exercise also provided Soldiers from 2-10 Aviation a valuable training opportunity and a chance to hone their field craft skills.
More than 13 years of combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan have left many units accustomed to falling in on well-established forward operating bases where many services and amenities are provided for them.
"The purpose behind this training is also to get the unit out into the field away from garrison so we can actually experience what it's like to set up these self-sustaining footprints and fly missions from a field environment," Murray said.
In addition to deploying with six UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, the battalion also sent petroleum supply and food service specialists from E Company, 2-10 Aviation, to provide the logistical support needed to feed and fuel the fight.