Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Calling for fire — Aviation unit trains Soldiers

Story and photo by Spc. Eugene H. Cushing

4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division

The 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted air-ground integration training on Range 141A Sept. 9-16.

The training taught Mountain Post Soldiers how to effectively speak to pilots during combat situations and included practical exercises where Soldiers designated targets for AH-64 Apache helicopters to attack.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Mitchell, the master gunner for 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg., said the purpose of the training was to prepare ground elements to talk to flight crews when needed.

“This provides a service to the other resident units on Fort Carson,” he said.

Mitchell said about 13-14 units attended the training, including representatives from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who returned from Afghanistan in June.

“They never had this training before they went,” he said. “A lot of them said they wish they had this training prior to going.”

Staff Sgt. Damion Bolton, a platoon sergeant assigned to Company A, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div., said the training would be helpful when he deploys in the future.

“You never know when you are going to need to call in for air support,” he said. “It is something Soldiers and (noncommissioned officers) should know. It is better to have it and not use it than to need it and not have it.”

In addition to training the Soldiers on how to call in air support, the battalion had classes on the capabilities and type of weaponry used by the Apache.

Staff Sgt. Adam Solis, a platoon sergeant assigned to Company C, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div., said he did not know about the different types of ammunition the Apache uses before he took the training.

“Now I understand what they have available to use,” he said. “It’s always good to know what your allies are using.”

Warrant Officer Jesse Wagnon, an Apache pilot assigned to the 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg., was on the ground helping guide the Soldiers through the practical exercises during the training.

“It’s getting them to understand what we see in the air versus what they see on the ground,” he said about teaching the Soldiers how to guide the aircraft onto a target.

Solis said he was sure that he would be sharing what he learned at the training with the other Soldiers in his unit.

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