1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Warrior Leader Course
An HH-60M Black Hawk medevac crew
responds to a request Jan. 17 from students completing a
Warrior Leader Course situational exercise. 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.
Story and photos by Dustin
When Soldiers attending the Fort
Carson Warrior Leader Course rehearsed medevac requests Jan. 17,
the Armys latest
in medical support aircraft responded.
A battlefield situational
exercise concludes the multicomponent 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 Armys 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 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.
Were 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 regiments 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 Armys 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
fragmentation 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 enemy forces.
You never know, said
Noga. When you get deployed everything can go haywire, and
you dont 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 aircrafts latest configuration includes hotter turbines, improved blades, computerized
cockpit panels, electronic litter lifts and a more secured patient compartment.
Its 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 wed be doing.
Montoya appreciates the
opportunity to practice prioritizing tasks in hectic situations.
He said its easy to feel task saturated
while surveying an area, coordinating with other aircraft, mitigating emergency situations, monitoring
internal frequencies and maintaining contact with ground forces.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew
Bright, Company F, 7th Bn., 158 Avn. Reg., is an instructor pilot
whos deployed to Iraq
three times. Bright was preparing to evaluate Montoyas response to the nine-line from the WLC students.
The more we can throw at
them here, in a training environment, the more prepared
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-IED 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 litter.
Were trying to make
it as real as possible, said Larson, who has deployed to
Iraq as a ground medic. He has a bachelors 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 that havent 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.
loud, said Daniel. The wind is blowing. Youre
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, its not so jarring so you wont get someone killed.
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 youre not as scared. Less things can go wrong.
A lot of people
havent been in training situations where you actually have
(helicopters), said Noga. This is giving people
a better feeling of what its like to actually evacuate a casualty in combat. The more you practice back home,
the better the chance you have of saving your battle buddys life.
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