By Spc. Andrew Valenza, New York National GuardApril 9, 2018
CAMP JOHNSON, COLCHESTER, Vermont -- New York Army National Guard aircrews from the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Battalion provided tactical airlift to assist the training of cadets from the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) during their spring semester tactical training here near Burlington, Vermont, April 5, 2018.
The flight mission involved a multi-ship air insertion of cadets from the Siena College Mohawk Battalion at Camp Johnson for a three-day field training exercise (FTX). The cadets practiced squad tactics alongside ROTC cadets from the University of Vermont's Green Mountain Battalion as part of the combined training exercise.
"We do training exercises once a semester," said Cadet Camille Valenza, a platoon leader from the Siena ROTC program. "It's pretty awesome, because we never get to do stuff like (flying in Black Hawks)."
Flying in helicopters is a rare opportunity for the cadets, which only happens once a year, if ever, Valenza explained.
During the hour-long flight from Albany to Burlington, the Army National Guard pilots gave the future officers some thrills. Once clear of residential areas, the four UH-60 Black Hawks formation flight increased speed, made some sharp turns and quickly dropped altitude as part of their flight maneuvers.
Upon arrival at their landing zone at Camp Johnson, the cadets rushed out to begin the tactical portion of their training while the 3-142nd aircrews moved on to refuel and pick up their next group of cadets.
Crewmembers provided static training for how to safely enter and exit the aircraft to prepare the cadets for their training while rehearsing their National Guard aircrew skills for air assault and air insertion missions.
The training support for the ROTC cadets gave the aircrews a chance to refine their multiship flight training, sustain their readiness for night vision operations and rehearse for more complex air assault missions, said Sgt. Joseph Roth, a crew chief with the 3-142nd Aviation.
The 3-142nd aircrews will deploy a flight company later this summer in support of a combat training center rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
"We get to work with other units and different skill levels," Roth said. "Everybody is at a different level of readiness right now. Some people are at the crawl phase, walk phase, or run phase. Each unit operates differently, so it gives us the opportunity to work with a wide scope of unit readiness levels."
The Green Mountain Battalion cadets from Vermont lifted off right before sunset and were given a ride to their tactical landing zone as the sunset over the horizon.
As the cadets moved off for their nightlong tactical training, the 3-142nd aircrews prepared to return back to their flight facility in Latham, using night vision goggles to maintain currency and proficiency.