PYEONGTAEK, South Korea (April 30, 2015) -- In a tall reed field where Korean roe deer hopped around, a group of young South Korean soldiers stood with camouflage faces, fully-packed rucksacks on their backs and K-2 rifles in their hands.
The South Korean soldiers watched and waited for their cue. At once, they all moved orderly and systematically to a CH-47F Chinook - most of them for the very first time.
Soldiers, from Company B, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, or GSAB, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted a cold-load training exercise in support of their Republic of Korea army, or ROKA, counterparts from the 603rd Air Assault Battalion, at LZ, a northern part of TTA TOM, April 21.
The cold load training, which incorporated the CH-47F Chinook helicopter, was attended by 20 ROKA soldiers. The training allows Soldiers to enter and exit a helicopter while the vehicle is not in operation. In contrast to cold load, hot load training allows Soldiers to enter and exit the helicopter during a live run.
"The standard for our Soldiers is to enter the bird in 15 to 30 seconds and exit in 15 seconds or less," said 1st Lt. John A. Milani, a crew chief from Company B, 3rd GSAB. "More importantly, the real goal is for every Soldier to become more comfortable with the process."
Milani conducted a safety briefing with the ROKA soldiers and instructed on the most expedient and proper way to enter the aircraft, utilize the seat belts, and position their equipment. Once the instructions were complete, the soldiers participated in a dry run of the exercise.
"The whole process sounds easy, but practice is essential, especially for soldiers, who have never been in an aircraft," Milani said. "Getting on in an orderly and swift manner is very basic, but key to accomplishing our mission."
"The purpose of the training is to synchronize U.S. and ROKA forces by introducing the CH-47 Chinook to the ROKA soldiers," said Warrant Officer 1 Levi Sena, a CH-47F Chinook pilot from the Company B, 3rd GSAB, who explained the goal of the U.S.-ROK joint cold load training.
"By working hand-in-hand with ROKA soldiers, we not only build stronger forces on the Korean Peninsula, but also foster the good relationship between the United States and Republic of Korea," Sena said.
The training ended with ROKA soldiers swiftly leaving the CH-47 Chinook. As the soldiers avoided the heat from the rear engine, they scattered into the reed fields and hid themselves. It was the first time, for most of them, to ever enter a CH-47 Chinook.
With the cold load training conducted by the 3rd GSAB, both U.S. and ROKA Soldiers said they were confident that they would be able to support one another in an actual wartime situation.