FORT CARSON, Colo. - Soldiers lined up in the snow and braced against the biting wind created by the furious rotation of the helicopter's rotor blades during air assault operations training at Fort Carson, Jan. 12-15.
The cold load, hot load and sling load training, incorporating UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, was attended by Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, after three days of classroom instruction on air load and air mission planning.
Soldiers practiced entering and exiting a helicopter for air assault missions, loading litter patients and removing the litter while the blades were not turning during cold load training.
For the hot load portion, flight crews received some valuable flight time and coordinated with the Soldiers on the ground to make the training as real as possible.
"Flight time is always important, because that's when we hone our skills and keeping ourselves proficient," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jay Dahms, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. "We work closely with the ground units to meet their training objectives, because we get same training value out of it."
To make the training realistic, Soldiers called in a medical evacuation from a radio, the helicopter arrived from an offsite location and landed, the "casualty" was loaded and then flown to the Fort Carson Evans Hospital.
Spc. Alex Ramos, infantryman, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division, learned that it's not always bad to volunteer when he was selected as one of the Soldiers that would ride in a hoist dangling from the helicopter during medical evacuation training.
"I rode on a rope hanging from a Black Hawk and it was cool. I had a really nice view up there," said Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico. "It was a great experience for me being in a line unit for the first time."
Certain Soldiers also learned how to inspect a heavy load for deficiencies and hook it to the underside of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during sling load training. After hooking the load to the sling, the helicopter lifted the load into mid-air and created a sling load.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Rocks, platoon sergeant, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division, said the focus of the training was to become more comfortable working around aircraft and that his Soldiers were very eager to take part.
"I wish that my first week in the Army I could've been working with helicopters," said Rocks. "Other than being excited and actually getting the training, the Soldiers are outside, doing their job and they're all about it."