CH-47s support training for Iowa Army engineer troops at Fort McCoy

CH-47s support training for Iowa Army engineer troops at Fort McCoy

8-Jun-2023 Source: US Army

Two CH-47F Chinook helicopters with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment supported training May 24 at Fort McCoy for Soldiers with the 224th Engineer Battalion of the Iowa National Guard, officials with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) said.

The helicopters supported training for the engineer Soldiers throughout the day while flying over Fort McCoy’s cantonment area and training areas. The 224th was completing extended combat training operations at Fort McCoy. The unit regularly completes training at Fort McCoy, DPTMS officials said.

According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s fact sheet description for the CH-47F, “the CH-47F Chinook is the Army’s only heavy-lift cargo helicopter supporting combat and other critical operations. The CH-47F has a suite of improved features such as an upgraded digital cockpit featuring the Common Avionics Architecture System, a new monolithic airframe with vibration reduction, and the Digital Automatic Flight Control System, which provides coupled controllability for operations in adverse environments (reduced visibility, brown out, and high winds).”

The fact sheet also states the CH-47F’s common cockpit enables multiservice digital compatibility and interoperability for improved situational awareness, mission performance, and survivability, as well as future growth potential.

In describing its benefit to the Soldier, the center’s fact sheet also states “the CH-47F tactically transports forces and associated equipment and provides routine aerial sustainment of maneuver forces. Secondary missions the Chinook executes to support Soldiers and commanders include medical evacuation, search and rescue, parachute drops, disaster relief, and aircraft recovery. The CH-47F Block II program provides additional capability to the field with greater reach, increased payload capacity, and an increase in maximum gross weight to 54,000 pounds.”

Chinook helicopters also have supported 89B (ammunition supply specialist) sling-load training at Fort McCoy for many years.

By Army definition, ammunition supply specialists are “Soldiers responsible for the management of ordnance to include ammunition and explosives.” Soldiers who are 89B-qualified are tasked with receiving, storing, and issuing conventional ammunition, guided missiles, large rockets, explosives, and other ammunition and explosive-related items. During two phases 89B course training under the Regional Training Site-Maintenance umbrella at Fort McCoy, students learn all of the entry-level basics about the course. The sling-load training is one of the last major training events during ASC.

“A sling load is used to transport munitions to remote locations or to expedite shipments in hostile locations,” said former course instructor 1st Sgt. Doug Dobitz, now with the 86th Training Division. “Being able to accomplish this is a critical task for the students as they will be responsible for this task in the future; along with this is all the associated paperwork and shipping documents.

“The components to complete a sling load include proper weighing of the load to ensure the proper aircraft is used, equipment serviceability checks, rigging to the proper standards, completion of the hookup to the helicopter, and proper use of hand and arm signals,” Dobitz said. “Also, some higher-level tasks are discussed as value-added training, such as landing-zone site selection, hook-up team duties, safety considerations, and knowledge of hazards at landing zones.”

CH-47 aircrew who supported 89B training at Fort McCoy in the past were with the Army Reserve’s 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment of New Century, Kansas.

For the May 24 training, the Chinook crews were favored with clear weather and favorable conditions to support the training effort. No safety issues were reported.

Fort McCoy was established in 1909 and its motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.

The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.

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