ANSBACH, Germany -- Spouses of aviation Soldiers in the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade participated in spouse orientation flights, here, May 11, at Katterbach Army Airfield.
The Spouses were given the opportunity to fly in a CH-47 Chinook from Hotel Company, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, 12th CAB, "Big Windy" or one of three UH-60 Black Hawks, from 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Calvary Brigade, "Task Force Spearhead," under the watchful eye of the CAB's most experienced aviators.
The 20 minute flight took the Spouses over Colmberg Castle and Rothenburg o.d. Tauber which are iconic landmarks of Middle Franconia.
In accordance with Army Regulation 95-1, the Spouse Orientation Flight Program is designed to provide aviation units an opportunity to enhance military spouses' understanding of army aviation.
These short, safe flights are intended to help Spouses influence career decisions of aviation Soldiers, ultimately increasing retention and improving overall morale.
For most, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the aircraft up close and experience them in flight.
"It's one thing to imagine what your spouse does as a pilot or crew chief," said Emily Leathead, Family Readiness Group leader and spouse of Capt. Phil Leathead, a CH-47 Chinook pilot and commander of Hotel Company 1st Bn., 214th Avn. Regt.. "But to experience a flight firsthand is an unreal experience."
"I'm so proud of what they do as aviators," said Leathead. "I wanted to shake everyone's hand after the flight."
The Spouses sat through a thorough safety brief from the battalion safety officer on emergency procedures and conducted static cold load training where they were taught how to use the aircraft's restraint system, and how to safely enter and exit.
Capt. Kate Alfin, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and S-3 operations officer, spent countless hours organizing the orientation flights. This marks the first time that 12th CAB has conducted a spouse orientation flight.
"I am grateful to those who were able to set up this wonderful opportunity for all us Spouses," said Amanda Geiger, wife of Spc. Chase Geiger a 15U CH-47 Chinook helicopter repairer from Hotel Company 1st Bn., 214th Avn. Regt.. "It was amazing to see some of what my husband gets to experience everyday."