ROATAN, Honduras –
U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew assigned to the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, completed deck landing qualifications in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) on June 4, off Honduras’ northern coast.
The deck landing qualification mission concluded the battalion’s third phase of overwater survival training designed to ensure aircrew members have confidence in their abilities to respond in the event of an overwater emergency, such as a downed aircraft, disaster relief response, aero-medical evacuation or a search and rescue mission over open water.
“Our aviators’ ability to respond and perform in an overwater survival scenario is critical in this environment,” said U. S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, commander of JTF-B. “We train hard every day to ensure readiness of our crews. The opportunity to work with the U.S. Coast Guard ensures we are able to rapidly respond to crises in support of our partners.”
Members of JTF-B also had the opportunity to meet with leaders aboard the USCGC James after aircrew renewed their single-spot deck landing currency requirements.
The 418-foot cutter has a top speed of 28 knots, an operational range of 12,000 nautical miles and can remain at sea for 90-day patrols.
“It was an honor to conduct joint training with our partners at JTF-B and demonstrate the National Security Cutter’s capabilities to support interagency operations,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Robert DiRado, pursuit mission commander. “Exercising with our DOD partners in Central America ensures the U.S. is ready to respond to contingency operations or support humanitarian crises when called upon.”
Earlier phases of overwater survival training included basic swim techniques, life-raft survival, shallow-water emergency egress, medical readiness training, hoist and caving ladder water extraction, and overwater aircraft ditching rehearsals.
The final phase of overwater survival training ensures members of JTF-B can facilitate sustained aviation operations for long distances over water while in response to humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations throughout Central America and the Caribbean Sea.
“JTF-Bravo is a readiness producer for U.S. Southern Command and for the military,” said Gventer. “The skills and competencies our service members hone during training like this has implications beyond our unit and across the entire Central and South American region.”