FORT CARSON, Colo. (Jan. 27, 2012) -- When Soldiers attending the
Fort Carson Warrior Leader Course rehearsed medevac requests Jan.
17, the Army's latest in medical support aircraft responded.
An HH-60M Black Hawk medevac crew responds to a request Jan. 1, 2012, from students completing a Warrior Leader Course situational exercise at Fort Carson, Colo. Army Reservists assigned to 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, at Fort Carson became the first Army unit to receive the latest Black Hawk medevac aircraft configuration in early 2010. Soldiers from Company F, 7th Bn., 158th Avn. Reg., recently started integrating medevac crews into situational exercises for the Warrior Leader Course at the Mountain Post. Photo
by Dustin Senger, Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
A battlefield situational exercise concludes the
multi-component Warrior Leader Course, or WLC, at Fort
Carson, which is organized by the 168th Regiment, Regional
Training Institute. New coordination efforts between the
training regiment and Reserve aviators are helping WLC
evaluators better assess the Army's future leaders.
During each 15-day course, WLC officials evaluate Soldiers
using exams and tasks, while focusing on Army history,
physical fitness, squad drills, communication skills,
leadership competency and war fighting proficiency. As a
culminating event, students transition to a tactical
environment and lead a squad.
Soldiers who are ready
for noncommissioned officer promotions must attend WLC,
which is open to all military occupational specialties.
Graduation from WLC, or an equivalent course, is required
for a recommendation to staff sergeant, according to Army
Regulation 600-8-19, Enlisted Promotions and Reductions.
"We're trying to make the training as realistic as
possible," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Henry, Headquarters,
168th Reg. Henry is a combat lifesaver instructor and the
regiment's senior medic. He said the unit began testing the
integration of medevac crews into the Fort Carson WLC
framework last month.
A complete integration plan
kicked off in January, combining WLC classroom six with Army
Reservists assigned to 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation
Regiment -- medevac crews employing the Army's most modern
Black Hawk configuration, HH-60M. The unit dedicated two
aircraft to WLC students practicing emergency calls.
"(The WLC students) have to work off an actual operations
order," said Henry. "Based on that operations order, we
issue fragmentary orders. They then conduct a course that
includes opposition fire, (improvised explosive device)
simulations and medevac procedures, ground and air."
"It was really good training," said Spc. Nickolas Noga, 1st
Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team,
4th Infantry Division, who graduated Jan. 19, with classroom
six. The infantryman has fought in Afghanistan, where he
experienced the chaos that unfolds by exchanging fire with
"You never know," said Noga. "When you
get deployed everything can go haywire, and you don't know
what to do. Everyone should have sufficient knowledge of
medevacs and be proficient at it."
The Soldiers from
Company F, 7th Bn., 158th Avn. Reg., began receiving HH-60M
Black Hawks in early 2010, according to unit instructor
pilots. They said the aircraft's latest configuration
includes hotter turbines, improved blades, computerized
cockpit panels, electronic litter lifts and a more secured
"It's great training for us,"
said 1st Lt. Derrek Montoya, Company F, 7th Bn., 158 Avn.
Reg., while waiting for a call from classroom six with his
pilot-in-command, crew chief and medic. "We get to do our
whole routine -- run-up and getting ready. If we get
deployed, this is what we'd be doing."
appreciates the opportunity to practice prioritizing tasks
in hectic situations. He said it's easy to feel "task
saturated" while surveying an area, coordinating with other
aircraft, mitigating emergency situations, monitoring
internal frequencies and maintaining contact with ground
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Bright,
Company F, 7th Bn., 158 Avn. Reg., is an instructor pilot
who's deployed to Iraq three times. Bright was preparing to
evaluate Montoya's response to the "nine-line" medevac
request from the WLC students.
"The more we can throw
at them here, in a training environment, the more prepared
they'll be when we deploy," said Bright, regarding the
medevac crews. The standard reaction time to a nine-line is
15 minutes, he said, but the company often rehearses
responses to urgent calls in less than 10 minutes.
While the two squads assigned to classroom six were walking
"humanitarian aid" through an icy gorge in subfreezing
temperatures, a training improvised explosive device
detonated, covering mud and snow in a cloud of white powder.
While securing the area, a "combatant" appeared about 50
feet from their beaten path, firing blanks from an M16
rifle. The Soldiers returned fire, simulating enemy
engagement. Before the exchange ended, a WLC small group
leader tapped a Soldier for evacuation, calling him a
gunshot wound. The Soldier dropped.
After the Black
Hawk landed, Sgt. Matthew Larson exited the aircraft, handed
his headset to his crew chief, grabbed a handheld radio and
met up with Soldiers. The combat medic asked for more
information about the "wounds," assessed the casualty for
quick treatments, and then adjusted and tightened their
"We're trying to make it as real as
possible," said Larson, who has deployed to Iraq as a ground
medic. He has a bachelor's degree in emergency response
medical services and experience with hospitals and aircraft.
"The biggest thing is talking through it speaking from
experience to the guys who haven't done it before."
"It helped us get a feeling of actually having a helicopter
come down," said Spc. Shaughn Daniel, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf.
Reg., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div. The M-1 Abrams tank system
maintainer said his occupational specialty rarely requires
training with aircraft.
"It's really loud," said
Daniel. "The wind is blowing. You're trying not to get your
head blown off and your heart is pumping. It really helps
when you get that type of training when you do it in real
life, it's not so jarring -- so you won't get someone
Daniel first practiced loading a simulated
casualty onto a Black Hawk at the Joint Readiness Training
Center in Fort Polk, La., while preparing for his first
combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. During the
training, he tripped and dropped a litter. However,
successful medevacs get easier with practice, he said.
"As you do it more, you get more used to it and you're
not as scared," he explained. "Less things can go wrong."
"A lot of people haven't been in training situations
where you actually have (helicopters)," said Noga. "This is
giving people a better feeling of what it's like to actually
evacuate a casualty in combat. The more you practice back
home, the better the chance you have of saving your battle
By Dustin Senger
Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
Army News Service
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