FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Soldiers from 58th Signal Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade, 101st Abn. Div., conducted a sling load training operation here Feb. 10.

The signal Soldiers validated the company's ability to properly rig and transport equipment via sling load, said Sgt. Timothy Cruz, noncommissioned officer in charge of the operation.

Sixty percent of the Soldiers who participated in the training had only practiced sling load operations while attending The Sabalauski Air Assault School, said Cruz.

The company teamed up with an aircrew from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Abn. Div., that provided a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for the training.

In teams of three, air assault qualified Soldiers from the company rigged and transported equipment onto an aircraft. Teams had to rig their assigned equipment in less than 20 minutes and de-rig the equipment in less than 10 minutes, which was all in accordance with the sling load course field manual.

The company's equipment included a Humvee, a joint network node, a satellite transportable terminal, and a 10k generator.

"The equipment we selected for the sling load operation was important because it is everything we need to run a signal mission," said Cruz. "It was important to make the training as realistic as possible, so including the exact equipment we would need for a mission was crucial."

For Pfc. Terrance Nails, multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer, 58th Signal Co., the operation was a refresher of what he learned at air assault school.

"I was a bit nervous at first, but it was a great refresher and I had fun rigging the equipment and hooking it up to the aircraft," said Nails. "My team leader, who had previous experience in the training, was extremely helpful being that it was my first time."

During the training, each team had at least one person with past experience in sling load operations, said Cruz.

"We made sure we mixed the new Soldiers and those who had previous experience together to ensure everything was rigged and loaded properly," said Cruz. "It also allowed Soldiers and NCOs in the company to build trust with one another to ensure the operation went smoothly."

Cruz added that it is extremely important for all air assault Soldiers to stay proficient in their skills because they represent the only air assault division in the Army.

"The 101st Airborne Division is known for its rapid deployments, and we have to be ready in case we are called upon to provide support," said Cruz. "Having the ability to internally, as a company, rig and load our equipment and provide [Soldiers] with signal support is what we strive for."