ICHEON, Republic of Korea—Soldiers from B Company 3rd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division ROK/U.S. Combined Division conducted combined casualty evacuation and downed aircraft recovery training with 302nd Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, ROK Army Aviation Command on February 15, 2023 focused on enhancing the mutual understanding between the units.
The combined downed aircraft recovery training and casualty evacuation training was facilitated by ROK Army Soldiers from 302 Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, ROK Army Aviation Command at the headquarters of ROK Army aviation.
“The intent of conducting combined training with the 302nd Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, our sister battalion, is to enhance our interoperability,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Hak Rou a Chinook helicopter pilot from B Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment. “Downed aircraft recovery and casualty evacuation training enhance our awareness of what both our units are capable of.”
Seconds matter in the critical moments of conducting a mass CASEVAC and DART. Understanding how our ROK Army allies’ evacuation and recovery procedures is integral to mission success.
“The ROK Army has similar casualty evacuation procedures as the U.S.” said Rou. “There were a few differences in what equipment they used, such as the type of litter. We utilize the newer collapsible litter, whereas the ROK Army still utilizes the older folding model. It doesn’t matter which one casualties are loaded onto as both work.”
Normally, casualty evacuation is conducted through an aviation brigade’s medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) company however, if there are more casualties than the MEDEVAC can accommodate a Chinook helicopter can be rapidly reconfigured for moving mass casualties.
“The ability for US and ROK Chinook helicopters to work together is crucial in safely executing complex mass air missions such as air movements and CASEVACs,” said Rou.
Downed aircraft recovery is not something that anybody wants to do, but being prepared to go out and recover an aircraft is a necessary skill.
“Downed aircraft recovery training offers capabilities and procedural information to the ROK Army,” said Rou. “For example, we had a newer version of the unit maintenance aerial recovery kit (UMARK) to recover downed aircraft. The ROK Army observing our UMARK increased their view on different aerial kits that they may utilize to increase safety and stability in the future.”
Working with our ROK Army allies always offers a unique training opportunity.
“The ROK Army enjoyed having us on their airfield and introducing their abilities within their unit,” said Rou. “They are always willing to share their knowledge. The language barrier between the U.S. and the ROK was lowered since we have Korean speakers in our unit, including myself.”
The 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade stands ready to conduct combat operations at a moment’s notice and provide superior air support to U.S. and ROK ground forces.