CAMP RIPLEY Minn. – Maryland National Guard Soldiers of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion – 126th Aviation Regiment trained on Camp Ripley in August in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
“During our advanced echelon meeting on the morning of August 15th, Camp Ripley’s Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Erickson mentioned an infantry unit that would be interested in joint training with our unit,” said 1st Sgt. Jonathan B. DeLong, who was coordinating between the unit and Camp Ripley’s Operations Cell.
B Company, 3-126th ECAB out of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland contacted 1st Sgt. Aaron Rousselange of C Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion -194th Armor, to plan an infantry troop movement mission with the unit’s CH-47 Chinook helicopter Aug. 19.
As the middle of August rolled by, both units began coordinating for rehearsals.
“Our plan is to be air-inserted on a narrow hilltop where they will lower the ramp for us to exit the aircraft. From there, we will secure the area and then march west towards our objective,” said Rousselange.
The aviation maneuver is known as a “pinnacle landing,” when the Chinook balances on its back wheels and the crew drop a ramp for loading or unloading.
Late the afternoon of Aug. 19, two CH-47s with the 3-126 conducted two flights each to transport the Soldiers of 1-194 to the Landing Zone. The pilots did not fully land. Ensuring safety measures were in place, the helicopter touched its ramp to the edge of the hill’s level surface and held in place.
Under the guidance of the aviation crew chief, the troops exited the aircraft and established a hasty perimeter around the narrow landing zone. The force of the rotor wash made it necessary to hug the ground as the aircraft lifted off to make room for the next inbound troops. As the ground force moved down the hill, one by one the CH-47s landed Soldiers safely and on time.
“It’s important to practice and train on the job we will be required to do,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jon Noble, CH-47 instructor pilot with 3-126. “Terrain and odd conditions are something we have to be prepared to overcome.”