USS LASSEN, At Sea –
U.S. Army pilots with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment successfully completed annual deck landing qualifications for two of their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), April 14.
The helicopters, based out of Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, participated in the DLQs, giving the Army pilots an opportunity to become more familiar with landing aboard Navy ships.
According to Army Lt. Col. Daniel Moore, commander, 1-228th Aviation Regiment, the pilots go through an extensive training pipeline in pursuit of this qualification.
"The biannual training consists of academics and land certification," said Moore. "The land portion simulates a flight deck. Once they complete that, they then go on to maritime certification."
As a result of joint operations between branches of the armed forces, services have to cross train with each other.
"Any opportunity to train with sister services is a great one," said Moore. "It helps ensure versatility and readiness."
Lt. Cmdr. Brian Bush, Lassen's air boss from the "Jaguars" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60, acted as the aviation liaison during the event.
"I assisted in the qualification by providing flight deck specifications and standard operating procedures," said Bush. "It was great working with them; it's interesting to find out how other helicopter pilots work."
The qualifications not only tested the Army pilots, but they also tested the members of Lassen's flight deck crew; it is not often that Army aircraft land on Navy vessels.
"This was an outstanding training opportunity for both the Army aircrews and our flight deck personnel," said Cmdr. Robert Francis, Lassen's commanding officer. "The Sailors did an excellent job assisting the Blackhawk crews in safely completing their qualifications and showing them our way of life at sea."
The 1-228th Aviation Regiment, under U.S. Army South, supports the U.S. Southern Command's engagement and security cooperation strategy, providing heavy lift, medical evacuation and general aviation support spanning the area of responsibility, in support of Joint Task Force-Bravo. The regiment actively participates in counter-drug missions and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts through Central America.
Lassen is currently underway in support of Operation Martillo, a joint operation with the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nations within the 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Operation MARTILLO is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, in support of U.S. Southern Command.