FORT POLK, La. - There's a military adage that says "train like you fight."

So at the Joint Readiness Training Center here, that's exactly what the 38th Infantry Division's 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers are doing.

The training scenario: troops engaged in mortal combat in a remote area, supply lines cumbersome or nigh impassable and supplies running low. Yet how does the commander keep them in the fight? Answer: airlift, which means supplies flown in via helicopter and loaded via slings. To do that, the troops must train.

For 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers, this familiarization helps in training like you fight.

"When you have soldiers who can't be accessed by ground, this is the best option," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Purvis, a sling load inspector for Company A, 113th Brigade Support Battalion, headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. "We can get supplies to them and continue the fight."

It's doubly important for support battalion soldiers because sling load operations can become a sticking point in otherwise smooth operations.

"Sling load operations and pick-up zone rehearsals are vital to the overall success of an air assault," said Capt. Kenneth Williard, a Task Force Aviation observer controller with the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group. "It's the largest friction point during an air assault."