By Sgt. Jeanine Toloza, 159 CAB Public AffairsNovember 7, 2007
There is a new bird flying over Fort Campbell that is sure to have all eyes throughout the Army on 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
The new UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter arrived Oct. 25 to a crowd of eager Soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment at Sabre Army Heliport after flying straight from the Sikorsky factory in Stratford, Conn.
"The 101st is the first combat unit to receive a UH-60M," said Lt. Col. James T. Benson, commander, 4-101. "We are the first unit equipped and our job is to figure the best way to employ aircraft tactics, techniques, and procedures for units in the Army that will follow on with this aircraft."
Benson's unit will begin to receive new production models from December until May, when the unit will be outfitted with 30 UH-60Ms. For now, the newly arrived training model will provide pilots and crews an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the future of Army aviation.
With improved flying and technical abilities, the new model includes a digital avionics suite and new rotor blades that allow crews to better support the infantry and reduce work load, said Chief Warrant Officer Mike White, UH-60M project manager liaison officer at Fort Campbell.
"The new model provides a lot of situational awareness," said Capt. Nathan A. Riedel, commander, Co. A, 4-101. "It brings maps up on display and should provide a lot more systems to help successfully complete a mission." With new capabilities comes more training, though, which the 4-101 Soldiers have been attending for various lengths depending on individual skill levels since September at Fort Rucker, Ala., for pilots and Fort Eustis, Va., for maintenance crews.
"The intent over the next year is to develop how to best use this aircraft in combat," Benson said. "The building blocks are well-trained, disciplined crews. The training at Ft. Eustis and Ft. Rucker will continue until each member of the unit is technically proficient in each aspect of the UH-60M."
Until each Soldier is up to task, 4-101 will continue to prepare for the operational transition to the UH-60M and continue to support the 101st in its everyday aviation mission.