TF Lobos medevac crews conduct rescue hoist training with Germans
By Staff Sgt. Joe Armas, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. PAOJuly 18, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- Since arriving in theater in late May, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division has established its place in the NATO footprint and has forged partnerships with NATO allies.
The 1st ACB and the German armed forces have been conducting joint training exercises in an effort to solidify and complement each other's operational capabilities.
As part of this joint effort, Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division conducted rescue hoist training with a German extrication team July 16.
The training rendered an opportunity for the extrication team to gain familiarization with the aircraft hoist as an alternative method for insertion into an area where a vehicle rollover could occur.
The ultimate goal is for the extrication teams to partner with TF Lobos' flight medics by using specialized tools to assist patients who are stuck inside of a vehicle with no other means of extraction during medevac missions.
"A vehicle rollover can happen anywhere especially when you consider the environment we are in," said Staff Sgt. Travis Brown, flight medic, Company C, Task Force Lobos, 1st ACB, originally from Bakersfield, Calif.
Furthermore, Staff Sgt. Chad Farris, of Salisbury, N.C., a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter crew chief, assigned to Company C, TF Lobos, 1st ACB, talked about the importance of aircraft hoist familiarization for the Germans.
In the mountainous and rugged terrain found throughout austere areas of Afghanistan, he said, insertion via aircraft hoist can be the only option for medical evacuation personnel or extrication teams.
Brown added, "Having the extrication team members work with us gives an extra capability we wouldn't have otherwise,"
Doused in sunlight, the extrication team members began the day with crew briefs, loaded up their equipment and took off in a black hawk medevac helicopter to the training site.
There, the training consisted of multiple iterations and a plethora of opportunities for the teams to practice rising and lowering with the aircraft hoist.
The extrication teams also garnered experience dealing with the dusty conditions caused by the powerful rotor wash from the sweeping rotor blades of the black hawk helicopter.
Moreover, Brown, who coordinated the training, said that positive communication between his crew and the extrication team was a key aspect in enhancing the training experience for both sides.
Brown touched on the enthusiastic attitude of the Germans.
"They were very eager to start this training," he added. "They were very hands on and anxious to familiarize themselves with our equipment."
One of the members of the extrication team, a master sergeant, said his crew gained a valuable learning experience from the day's training events. Furthermore, he noted that the training was very realistic and helpful since his team did not have prior experience working with helicopters.