NEWS | Oct. 30, 2009

Aviation regiment focuses on field training exercise

By Staff Sgt. Chad Thompson Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment recently turned their focus from helicopter operations to some basic Soldier field training from Oct. 25 to 29 in a tent city behind the base rappelling station.

Some of the things taught during the training were: practicing recall procedures, setting up tents, radio communications, convoy operations, combat medicine, vehicle staging, wrecker operations, M-249 light machine gun familiarization and firing the M-249 at the range.

Along with this training the Soldiers also completed equal opportunity training, Army fraternization policy, sexual assault prevention, and several other classroom courses.

The company was divided into two groups and each group executed the same training, said 1st Sgt. Mark Baker, 1-228th Aviation Regiment first sergeant. While one group "deployed to the field" the second group conducted recovery operations, and then they swapped and completed the other training.

The leadership wanted to try and maximize training while maintaining normal battalion operations, the first sergeant said.

"Our leadership wanted to take advantage of these slower months and give our Soldiers some basic training to make sure we are all on the same page," Sergeant Baker said.

Each group spent several days in a field environment while receiving the training. The Soldiers were instructed they could not leave "tent city" until the field training was complete.

Many of the Soldiers ate Meals-Ready-To-Eat, or MREs, and were limited to the things they had taken with them to tent city, Sergeant Baker said.

"We have been roughing it the last few days," he said. "We don't even have any electricity connected here, but this will give some of our younger Soldiers a feel for what it's like in deployed field conditions."

"Our main focus with the training was crawling, walking and then running," said Capt. John Osterson, company commander. "We want to teach the basics first."

"Once we feel everyone is comfortable with the training we want to incorporate some tactical training," Sergeant Baker said. Tactical training means adding in real-world situations.

After everyone is 100 percent qualified on the tasks provided in the three days of training the company leadership hopes to add in an opposing force next quarter, he explained.

Some real-world scenarios the first sergeant said he hopes to practice soon are ambushes, vehicles being disabled and the teams having to physically recover the vehicles while holding up defensive fighting positions and other scenarios these Soldiers might see in Iraq or Afghanistan if they deploy again in a few months.