Tuesday March 9, 2010
What is it?
Army Aviation High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training Strategy (HAMETS) is an exportable training package Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) commanders employ as part of their train-up for an Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) deployment. Aviation brigades must deploy to mountainous regions of Afghanistan with aviators confident in their ability to conduct aviation operations at high altitude, where aircraft performance and power available can be severely limited. With the challenging landscape of the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, the demand for aviation support is even greater. To safely conduct Army Aviation's fundamental mission - support the ground commander - high-altitude mountain training is a must.
What has the Army done?
This U.S. Army Forces Command initiative is a collaborative effort between FORSCOM, TRADOC, Fort Hood's 21st Cavalry Brigade, and the Colorado Army National Guard. The HAMETS training evolution was conducted at Fort Carson, Colo., in February 2010 by the 4th CAB from Fort Hood. HAMETS is a two-week event first focusing on individual skills/tasks, transitioning to collective/team tasks incorporating multi-aircraft night vision system operations different types of aircraft. Unit planned and led, the aviation battalion task force commander uses HAMETS to drive his training plan with the technical expertise of cadre from the Directorate of Evaluation and Standardization (DES), U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala., and unit Instructor Pilots. With five training cycles spread over ten weeks, every aviator within the brigade will experience flights in their aircraft type under various flight profiles and in mountainous conditions that replicate "down range" requirements.
Why is this important to the Army?
HAMETS facilitates success on the battlefield and increases safety margins by ensuring Army Aviators better understand the aerodynamics and atmospheric effects on their aircraft, at altitudes up to 14,000 feet (training venue dependent). Much of the aviation force has experienced multiple deployments to the relatively flat desert terrain of Iraq. As the shift towards OEF continues, HAMETS will expose OIF veterans to the challenges of high-altitude flight planning and aircraft operations in mountainous environments.
What is planned for the future?
HAMETS planning is underway for the next three CABs deploying to OEF. Fort Carson, Colo., is an ideal location for this training; however, Fort Bliss, Texas, and other mountainous locations have either been used or are being considered. Planning and discussion for a collective training effort for all mission design series aircraft is ongoing.
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"This is exactly the advanced training we need to offer our aviators to survive in some of the most dangerous environmental conditions anywhere. High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training Strategy (HAMETS) will better prepare our great Army aviation force and save Soldiers lives."
- Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, Deputy Chief of Staff, FORSCOM G3/5/7
"Our whole experience as a team is a sort of microcosm of what you see in the Army with all of our wounded warriors and it takes a team to recover. It takes a team to have that bond of support, that family to carry you through the hard times and to encourage you, motivate you and get you to the top, whether that's a mountain, the top of the stairs or the first time running on new legs."
-Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister, organized a mountaineering team for a Mount McKinley expedition in 2009 that included four wounded veterans, eulogizing about the Army team work ethics
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