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Jungle Aviators
by U.S. Army Capt. Richard Barker - November 22, 2014

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WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – Aircrews assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade provided UH-60M Black Hawk air assault support to Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, during the 15-01 Jungle Operations Training Course, in the JOTC training area, Oct. 24, 2014.

Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, exit a UH-60M Black Hawk operated by an aircrew assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, in a jungle training area for an air assault mission during the 15-01 Jungle Operations Training Course, Oct. 24, 2014. The air assault allowed the JOTC class to experience the complexities of movement through a jungle environment during their multiple-day, live-fire training exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th CAB Public Affairs)
Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, exit a UH-60M Black Hawk operated by an aircrew assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, in a jungle training area for an air assault mission during the 15-01 Jungle Operations Training Course, Oct. 24, 2014. The air assault allowed the JOTC class to experience the complexities of movement through a jungle environment during their multiple-day, live-fire training exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th CAB Public Affairs)

An air assault is the action of using rotary wing aircraft to transport Soldiers into an operational area. The air assault allowed the JOTC class to experience the complexities of movement through a jungle environment during their multiple-day, live-fire training exercise.

“Adding the air assault capability to training adds realism needed for the units to understand all the elements that come together in the jungle environment,” said Staff Sgt. Oscar Salmeron, a JOTC jungle instructor.

Training at JOTC includes learning to properly waterproof equipment, utilize field-expedient communication methods, perform jungle-specific medical treatment and conduct jungle patrolling tactics.

“The thing to understand about the jungle is the mobility aspect,” said Salmeron. “The helicopters facilitate entry and exit points which change the ability of the unit to navigate the jungle better.”

The air assault portion of the training started with the air crews working with the 2-14th CAV Soldiers to practice safely entering and exiting the Black Hawks while they were safely parked with engines turned off. This training, known as cold load training, ensures all of the details of entering and exiting the aircraft are worked out prior to a live mission.

Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, maneuver through a jungle training area following a UH-60M Black Hawk air assault operation operated by Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during the 15-01 Jungle Operations Training Course, Oct. 24, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th CAB Public Affairs)
Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, maneuver through a jungle training area following a UH-60M Black Hawk air assault operation operated by Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during the 15-01 Jungle Operations Training Course, Oct. 24, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th CAB Public Affairs)

“The air assault training at JOTC provides us with an additional opportunity to practice air ground integration with the ground units in the 25th Infantry Division,” said 1st Lt. Caitlin Withenbury, platoon leader, Company C, 2-25 AVN, 25th CAB. “The more exposure we have to each other's operations, the better we will be able to work together in the future.”

The open nature of the JOTC training also provides 25th CAB aviation units with the perk of gaining diverse aviation experience.

“The unit leadership participating in JOTC have the ability to develop their own missions to include deciding how they would like to use aviation support,” said Withenbury. “This benefits us because we never see the same mission twice.”

The 15-01 JOTC course is the first of four training courses scheduled during the 2015 fiscal year.

By U.S. Army Capt. Richard Barker
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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