PHILIPSBURG, Pa. - Soldiers from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 28th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted a helicopter refueling exercise Friday and Saturday at Mid-State Regional Airport here.
Soldiers from the brigade's 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion, based at Fort Indiantown Gap, fueled helicopters, provided air traffic control and conducted aircraft and vehicle maintenance.
The Soldiers established a Forward Arming and Refueling Point at the airport. Brigade aviators flew helicopters to this FARP and conducted a "hot" refuel, meaning the engines remained running while Soldiers on the ground refueled them.
FARPs are established so helicopters can remain in areas of operation without returning to base to refuel.
Residents of Centre County may have noticed military trucks and helicopters in the area over the weekend.
"It gives us an opportunity we typically wouldn't have in cantonment at Fort Indiantown Gap, to come up here to utilize [Mid-State Airport]," said Lt. Col. Greg Coffield, commander of 2-104th GSAB. "We can convoy up, and do convoy overwatch with the Apaches. We can transport troops."
Soldiers from the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company also participated in the exercise, setting up a tactical command post at the airport and communicating with the brigade's headquarters at Fort Indiantown Gap.
"Mid-State Airport gives us an opportunity to do a pretty significant two and a half to three hour convoy, set up in a remote environment, conduct operations, break-down and convoy back all in a drill weekend," said Col. Dennis Sorensen, commander of the 28th CAB. "It was a really good training exercise for the Soldiers...going out and actually operating with the Army systems, with the helicopters, with the computer systems, the refueling equipment and all the maintainers' gear."
"This really benefits our Soldiers and their ability to go out in the world and conduct operations."