Story and photos by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Thumping sounds of helicopter blades kicked up swirls of dirt as Soldiers directed 4th Combat Aviation Brigade aircraft to sling load equipment as part of a field training exercise on Fort Carson, July 25.
The 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th CAB, 4th Infantry Division, conducted its first FTX for the CAB, July 22-26.
The 4th CAB’s overall purpose for the training exercise is to test the brigade’s readiness for deployment and improve on what it needed, said Capt. Robert Detienne, assistant operations officer, 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg.
“We are learning many things that will help us develop plans for future training exercises,” Detienne said.
The CAB’s training covered both basic Soldier skills and military occupational specialty specific training.
“The training exercises were concentrated on the Soldiers’ individual training,” said Detienne. “The training consisted of nine-line medevac, land navigation, first aid and MOS field training.”
2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg., started from scratch in prepping for its training exercise.
“We started from ground zero,” said Detienne. “Besides individual experiences that everyone has had, we worked hard as a staff … to figure out what we need to work on to be ready to deploy.”
Sling load training was the main collective training performed by the battalion’s Chinook and Black Hawk companies.
“Most of the Soldiers are doing the sling loads for the first time,” said Sgt. David Fagan, petroleum supply specialist and sling load instructor, Company E, 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg. “We started training heavily on the sling loads for the past two days before the actual training exercise.
“All sling loads that were performed were executed perfectly,” he said. “I am very proud of how well the Soldiers executed their mission tasks.”
Company E Soldiers prepared for two weeks prior to the FTX.
“The Soldiers trained diligently with Soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group’s Group Support Battalion,” said Capt. Faith Neubauer, commander, Company E. “They are really excited about this exercise.”
“Iron Eagle” Soldiers were trained to prepare many types of equipment in short periods of time.
“I just recently went through a weeklong class prior to the FTX,” said Fagan. “The Soldiers got a more condensed class on sling loading to prepare equipment for a sling load in five to 30 minutes, depending on type of equipment.”
The experience gained in the FTX provided a strong foundation for the CAB to build from in future exercises.
“The training we received from the field exercise helps to establish a baseline for the CAB,” said Detienne. “This training was important, because you have to know where you are to get to where you want to be. This is why we started with individual tasks. In September, we will conduct another field exercise based on more collective tasks.”