A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter descends toward an instructor, ammunition specialist students and simulated cargo to perform a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The training event is part of the eight-week 89B Ammunition Specialist Course offered by the Ordnance School, an element of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command.
1 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter descends toward an instructor, ammunition specialist students and simulated cargo to perform a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The training event is part of the eight-week 89B Ammunition Specialist Course offered by the Ordnance School, an element of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
Pfc. Nicki Whiticomb, Staff Sgt. George Avery (an instructor) and Pvt. Dewonn Horne await a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter just moments prior to a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The training event is part of the 89B Ammunition Specialist Course taught by the Ordnance School. (photo by T. Anthony Bell)
2 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pfc. Nicki Whiticomb, Staff Sgt. George Avery (an instructor) and Pvt. Dewonn Horne await a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter just moments prior to a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The training event is part of the 89B Ammunition Specialist Course taught by the Ordnance School. (photo by T. Anthony Bell) (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ammunition Specialist Course students watch delicate sling load operations while awaiting their turn to train at McLaney Drop Zone June 17.
3 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ammunition Specialist Course students watch delicate sling load operations while awaiting their turn to train at McLaney Drop Zone June 17. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
A Black Hawk helicopter slowly hovers downward toward students and instructor,  facilitating the task of using the reach pendant to connect cargo to the aircraft for transport during sling load training June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The  training event was part of the 89B Ammunition Specialist Course taught at the Ordnance School.
4 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Black Hawk helicopter slowly hovers downward toward students and instructor, facilitating the task of using the reach pendant to connect cargo to the aircraft for transport during sling load training June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The training event was part of the 89B Ammunition Specialist Course taught at the Ordnance School. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
Pvt. Ibrahim Abukar and Pvt. Shekailah Davis – under the guidance of Staff Sgt. Jennifer Wynn  -- work together to hook the reach pendant to the underside of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone.
5 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pvt. Ibrahim Abukar and Pvt. Shekailah Davis – under the guidance of Staff Sgt. Jennifer Wynn -- work together to hook the reach pendant to the underside of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a sling load operation June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
FORT LEE, Va. (June 17, 2021) -- Pvt. NyKaya McLemore – receiving guidance from her instructor, Staff Sgt. George Avery – uses a reach pendant to connect cargo to the underside of a 6-ton, hovering Black Hawk helicopter during sling load operations June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. McLemore is an 89B Ammunition Specialist Course student undergoing advanced individual training at the Ordnance School. Ammunition specialists are responsible for the highly specialized care and management of ammunition, explosives and their components, among other duties, according to www.goarmy.com. Sling loading is a means to transport ammunition in austere conditions or when expediency is critical. (Photo by T. Anthony Bell)
6 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT LEE, Va. (June 17, 2021) -- Pvt. NyKaya McLemore – receiving guidance from her instructor, Staff Sgt. George Avery – uses a reach pendant to connect cargo to the underside of a 6-ton, hovering Black Hawk helicopter during sling load operations June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. McLemore is an 89B Ammunition Specialist Course student undergoing advanced individual training at the Ordnance School. Ammunition specialists are responsible for the highly specialized care and management of ammunition, explosives and their components, among other duties, according to www.goarmy.com. Sling loading is a means to transport ammunition in austere conditions or when expediency is critical. (Photo by T. Anthony Bell) (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
Advanced individual training Soldiers move toward safety after connecting the load to a Black Hawk helicopter during sling load training June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The Soldiers are 89B Ammunition Specialist Course students.
7 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Advanced individual training Soldiers move toward safety after connecting the load to a Black Hawk helicopter during sling load training June 17 at McLaney Drop Zone. The Soldiers are 89B Ammunition Specialist Course students. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies away after picking up cargo from an area of McLaney Drop Zone June 17. Students from the Ordnance School’s 89B Ammunition Specialist Course took turns connecting cargo loads to the aircraft during sling load operations training (photo by T. Anthony Bell).
8 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies away after picking up cargo from an area of McLaney Drop Zone June 17. Students from the Ordnance School’s 89B Ammunition Specialist Course took turns connecting cargo loads to the aircraft during sling load operations training (photo by T. Anthony Bell). (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL
A student, under the guidance of an instructor, directs a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during sling load operations at McLaney Drop Zone June 17.
9 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A student, under the guidance of an instructor, directs a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during sling load operations at McLaney Drop Zone June 17. (Photo Credit: Terrance Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. (June 25, 2021) -– While ground transport is the most common and practical way to move ammunition out to fighting forces on the front lines, it isn’t always the fastest if a rapid resupply is needed.

That’s when sling load operations comes into play – a skilled process of loading and lashing a pallet so it can be lassoed onto the cargo hook of a helicopter for delivery by air.

“Sling loading ammunition for emergency resupply is an essential skill of our profession,” confirmed Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Kaylin who serves as the Ordnance School’s training ammunition supply point noncommissioned officer in charge, 89B Ammunition Specialist Course. “Air movement also is a way to get ammunition from A to B and to areas you can’t get to via convoy because the roads are bad or there is no access.”

Because sling load operations are largely situational, the schoolhouse prepares students to execute a wide range of “what-if scenarios.”

“This training is very critical,” Kaylin said of the 8-hour block of sling-load instruction that took place here June 17. “As an 89B, sling load is going to be one of the tasks they’re going to see again and again out there in the operational Army.”

The sling load portion of the 89-Bravo course consists of three hours classroom time and five hours of familiarization training with at UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at McLaney Drop Zone. The chopper continuously circles the training area, often inching into position over the mocked-up ammunition pallets and hovering while instructors guide students through the procedures of attaching and secure cables.

The process can be daunting for young Soldier experiencing their first blasts of powerful rotor wash from a 6-ton, hulking aircraft settling in and hovering just a few feet over their heads. Many of the students had never seen a helicopter up close, much less one that hung inches above them with a thump-thump-thump that could be felt in the bones.

“I know a lot of adrenaline went through my blood,” admitted 19-year old Pfc. Vuillermo Ageirre afterward. “Seeing the aircraft coming toward me, I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ It was a nice, exhilarating experience.”

Pvt. Adam Hetrick, who was paired with Ageirre underneath the aircraft, said the training was a “great time and good experience” that may contribute to his future as a Soldier.

“Hopefully, I can progress in my Army career and do more with helicopters,” he said.

Both Soldiers are assigned to Echo Company, 832nd Ord. Bn.

Staff Sgt. George Avery, who guided students through the cargo hookups along with Staff Sgt. Jennifer Wynn, said sling load skills are a must in the ammunition supply arena.

“It’s a good skill to have,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to need it. It’s better to have a skill you might use than not having it at all.”

On a yearly basis, about 800 students graduate from the eight-week 89B Ammunition Specialist Course, said Kaylin. There are roughly 2,400 ammunition specialists among the ranks of the active and reserve components.