US Army personnel from the second general support aviation battalion, (fourth aviation regiment, fourth combat aviation brigade, fourth infantry division) have carried out their first field training exercise (FTX) at Fort Carson in Colorado, US.
Carried out after a two-week preparation that trained soldiers to prepare several equipment types in short periods of time, the exercise involved both basic soldier skills and military occupational speciality (MOS) specific training programmes.
Specifically, the FTX featured nine-line medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) land navigation, first aid, MOS field training and sling-load training.
The second general support aviation battalion, fourth aviation regiment assistant operations officer captain. Robert Detienne. said the exercise was aimed at evaluating the brigade's readiness for deployment and also to identify areas for soldiers' skills improvement.
"We are learning many things that will help us develop plans for future training exercises," Detienne said.
During the sling-load training, the soldiers from the second general support aviation battalion's Chinook and Black Hawk companies perfectly executed all sling-loads manoeuvres.
Company E, second GSAB, fourth aviation regiment petroleum supply supplest and sling-load instructor sergeant David Fagan said the majority of the soldiers performed sling-loads for the first time.
"We started training heavily on the sling-loads for the past two days before the actual training exercise," Fagan said.
The soldiers, along with the tenth special forces group support battalion, were briefed on preparing equipment for a sling-load in five to 30 minutes, depending on equipment type, prior to FTX.
The experience obtained from the FTX is expected to have provided the fourth combat aviation brigade (CAB) with a strong foundation to build from in future exercises.
Noting that the training will help the army to establish a baseline for the CAB, Detienne said: ''In September, we will conduct another field exercise based on more collective tasks."
Image: US soldiers prepare a storage container for sling loading to a different site at Fort Carson. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault.