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Camp Ripley Helicopter Battalion conducts air assault training

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CAMP RIPLEY — Soldiers from the A Co., Second Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted an air assault training mission Nov. 6 over central Minn., which originated from, and ended at, Camp Ripley.

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An air assault mission is, “the deliberate movement of troops into an area to disrupt and surprise the enemy,” said Minnesota Army National Guard Capt. Shannon Gregory, company commander in an email release.

This mission was designed to test the soldiers of the company. They had to meet timing marks, ensuring they are able to communicate between the aircraft. The mission required all six aircraft to arrive at separate landing zones at Camp Ripley at the same time.

The difference between an air assault mission and an air movement is that an air movement just moves people from one location to another, but an air assault requires the aircraft crews to work with a ground commander to meet his plan for the particular objective, said Gregory.

There was an additional challenge added to the mission, winds were gustingup to 25 mph.

“The wind makes flying more difficult,” said Warrant Officer One Jennifer Shimek, a UH60 Blackhawk pilot. “With the wind blowing you around it is more difficult to keep everything in line. You are making constant changes to the collective and cyclic, its constant stress.”

A UH60 is typically manned by two crew chiefs, in addition to the two pilots. The crew chiefs are responsible for ensuring the aircraft is clear of obstacles, ensuring the safety of any passengers and also manning weapons.

The crew chiefs team up with the pilots to ensure that the mission is completed successfully. An objective they accomplished during this exercise.

The Soldiers of A Co., 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion are slated to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn in the next 30 days.

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