MIHAIL KOGĂLNICEANU, Romania―U.S. Soldiers, assigned to Bravo Company, 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), practiced sling load and medical hoist operations with the Romanian Air Force, at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base, Aug. 23 - 24.
Sling loading is the rapid movement of equipment by helicopter, from one location to another, using sling sets, cargo nets and other specially-designed equipment. This allows units to move equipment over terrain that may be unsuitable for convoys or land movements in a timely manner.
The Romanian Air Force made this training possible, volunteering to use their aircraft and flight crew for the exercise. Members of 39th BEB used the IAR 330 Puma Helicopter for this training.
“Not only does this help increase readiness and our preparation for getting equipment to us or to our allies,” said Sgt. 1st Class Devin Jarone, 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 39th BEB, “in the event that we have casualties and our closest asset is a Romanian aircraft, we already have that familiarization.”
Teams of four performed the medical evacuation hoist training, using “SKED” horizontal-stretcher hoist rescue systems. Teams of two practiced safely approaching the helicopter and attaching the sling load. Finally, small groups were taken out on short familiarization flights.
“We want to train with our powers and our capabilities and train each other in case we need to do something,” said Romanian Air Force Capt. Alexandru Badea, a pilot with 572th Helicopter Squadron. “The partnership is very strong, and growing everyday.”