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101st Airborne Division Task Force Strike Soldiers and Aviation units refine sling load skills

 

Written by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

2nd Brigade Combat Team - StrikeFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Taji, Iraq – Soldiers from Task Force Strike, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and pilots from Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Brigade refined their sling load skills at Camp Taji, Iraq, July 15th.

As the U.S. Army’s only Air Assault division, the 101st is trained and equipped to conduct operations to rapidly move around the battlefield.

A hook-up team, consisting of Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Strike, attach an M1151 Humvee to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a sling load training exercise July 16 2016, in Taji, Iraq. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

A hook-up team, consisting of Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Strike, attach an M1151 Humvee to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a sling load training exercise July 16 2016, in Taji, Iraq. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

Master Sgt. Jarrod Gozy, support operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, Task Force Strike, coordinated the training at Taji airfield with participants from the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment.

“We have to be more than trained,” said Gozy. “We have to be proficient at sling load operations to be ready to support the fight at a moment’s notice. Exercising all aspects of our supply capabilities gives us flexibility and allows us the opportunity to maximize assets available.”

In order to validate aircraft crews for sling load operations, all personnel must learn and execute proper load preparation, inspection, and slinging techniques. Training is conducted during both the day and night so that pilots will be able to move loads in either condition.

Sgt. Robert Rojas, left, and Staff Sgt. Thomas Gardner, right, with the 526th Brigade Support Battalion, Task Force Strike, prepare an M1151 Humvee for sling load operations July 15, 2016, in Taji, Iraq. The 526th BSB is the base operating support integrator for Coalition forces on Camp Taji, responsible for integrating the operations of Coalition forces with the Iraqi security forces. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

Sgt. Robert Rojas, left, and Staff Sgt. Thomas Gardner, right, with the 526th Brigade Support Battalion, Task Force Strike, prepare an M1151 Humvee for sling load operations July 15, 2016, in Taji, Iraq. The 526th BSB is the base operating support integrator for Coalition forces on Camp Taji, responsible for integrating the operations of Coalition forces with the Iraqi security forces. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

“Although this training is acting as a refresher course for Task Force Strike Soldiers, the main effort is to ensure the pilots are proficient in sling loads,” said 1st Lt. Kelsey Brooker 526th Assistant S3. “In the event equipment needs to be moved, it is essential the pilots are confident in their ability.”

Soldiers in Task Force Strike use the Gold Book, the 101st Airborne Division’s standard for conducting Air Assault operations during sling load training and operations. The Gold book is also used at the Sabalauski Assault School, where Soldiers throughout the division come to learn the basics of air assault operations.

Training started with qualified personnel rigging the loads that were going to be used. The loads were rigged, weighed, and then inspected by the aircraft crews. Next, all hook team personnel conducted rehearsals to safely hook the load onto the helicopters and egress properly. Ground guides were given refresher classes in hand and arm signals as well as actions to take in case of an emergency.

Two loads were tested during day and night exercises: an M1151 Humvee and an 8,900-pound training load. The aviation assets were guided by the ground crews and were tested multiple times.

A hook-up team, consisting of Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Strike, prepare an M1151 Humvee for sling load operations, July 16 2016, in Taji, Iraq. The Soldiers conducted the training to maintain their proficiency in sling load operations while deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

A hook-up team, consisting of Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Strike, prepare an M1151 Humvee for sling load operations, July 16 2016, in Taji, Iraq. The Soldiers conducted the training to maintain their proficiency in sling load operations while deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

“Soldiers conducted sling load operations during day time first to gain confidence in the procedures.” said Gozy. “Afterwards, conducting the operations with night vision goggles allowed the Soldiers to show that they can conduct sling load operations anytime, anywhere. Conducting training at night gives the Soldiers more confidence in their training, as well as the pilots.”

This training will be ongoing so that 101st Soldiers and Army aviators can maintain their Air Assault proficiency.


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