621st CRW, Army gain sling-load experience
By Gustavo Gonzalez, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 23, 2014
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
The 621st Contingency Response Wing teamed up with the New Jersey National Guard's 1st Battalion, (General Support), 150th Aviation Regiment (GSAB), stationed at the Trenton-Mercer Airport, to conduct training for both units at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Sep. 16.
Approximately 14 Airmen from the 817th and 818th Contingency Response Groups, and three members of the 1-150 GSAB teamed up to conduct a re-vamped sling-load familiarization training.
The Airmen received classroom instruction early, then the team did the hands-on training to conduct the sling-loads in the afternoon.
Once the Airmen arrived in the field for the hands-on portion of the training, three cargo loads, including a Humvee, were rigged. As a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter hovered over the cargo about eight feet in the air, the Airmen hooked up the load under the Blackhawk. After the Airmen cleared the area, the Blackhawk was free to move the cargo.
"This is a great opportunity for our guys to get hands on experience and actually conduct sling-load operations," said Master Sgt. Eric Sullivan 818th CRG maintenance flight chief and course instructor. "Additionally, the 1-150 GSAB has a pilot getting trained as well. It's to get everyone comfortable and confident."
According to Sullivan, the sling-load is important because it gives commanders another option to move cargo.
"With a helicopter we can land almost anywhere," he said. "And if the roads are impassible, this is a method where we can get there without driving."
The 621st CRW is based at both here and Travis Air Force Base, California, because of the by-coastal location of the unit, their past sling-load training was a challenge to standardize.
"Before, we were doing our own thing on the East Coast, and they were doing their own thing on the West Coast," Sullivan said. "Now, we re-vamped and consolidated the training so that it's all one program."
Sullivan also indicated that the 1-150 GSAB gained valuable experience during the training.
"They currently have people deployed real-world doing this very mission," Sullivan said. "So this training is definitely beneficial for them to re-qualify and certify their guys on this."
According to Staff Sgt. Tim Davis, 818th GMS ramp coordinator and course student, the sling-load training went exceptionally well, and everyone in the course was able to learn a lot of practical knowledge and experience.
"I feel the training is especially valuable for the CRW as it gives us yet another tool to accomplish our very diverse sets of missions," Davis said.