CLAY KASERNE, Germany — About 16 Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1-214th General Support Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, assisted in loading two HH-60 MedEvac Black Hawk helicopters onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft for movement to Norway in support of exercise Swift Response 2022, at Clay Kaserne, Germany on April 28.
Swift Response demonstrates the strategic employment of the Global Response Force and validates the U.S. European Command’s ability to send high readiness forces into a designated area while advancing airborne interoperability among NATO allies.
While providing MedEvac support, the 12 CAB Soldiers will also implement and execute essential training.
"Technically, we’re conducting training for ourselves to fold [the rotors of] our aircraft and put them on an airplane to be sent somewhere else," said Spc. Timothy Yenter, a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic assigned to Charlie Company. “Going to Norway will be a first-time opportunity for myself and others with folding aircraft and putting them on a C-17 for transport to a different country to help our NATO Allies.”
Soldiers were able to improve the time to prepare the helicopters for transport.
According to Yenter, by the time they finished folding the second helicopter, they were able to complete the task in 30 minutes. “After the main rotor blades [are folded], that's the point where the mechanics will take over,” added Yenter. “We want to be fast with the process, but we don’t want to make mistakes.”
While in Norway in support of Swift Response, the 12 CAB Soldiers will provide two MedEvac crews, one for each helicopter.
“When we get to Norway we will be conducting operations for paratroopers from the Hungarian and Spanish armies with the support of our Norwegian allies in NATO,” Yenter said. “We will be providing 24-hour MedEvac coverage for three to four days depending on how long the drops take.”
After all of the paratroopers complete their jump, they will be living on the side of a mountain during the final phases of their exercise.
“We’ll be ready just in case any of them develop any kind of sickness, hypothermia, or even sprained ankles to where they would need a helicopter to take them to a local hospital for the Norwegians to provide them care,” Yenter concludes.
Exercise Swift Response 2022 is an annual multinational training exercise, which takes place in Eastern Europe, the Arctic High North, Baltics and Balkans from May 2-20, 2022. The purpose of the exercise is to present combat credible Army forces in Europe and Africa and enhance readiness by building airborne interoperability with allies and partners and the integration of joint service partnerships.