Wranglers Train for Sling-Load Operations

FORT HOOD, Texas — One of the many reasons prospective Americans join the military are the unique training experiences that present themselves to individuals.

The unique training experience for the Soldiers of the 289th Quartermaster Company, 4th Sustainment Brigade was feeling the rotor wash of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter as they strained to attach the sling load cable to the underside of the helicopter.

There are weeks and planning and training that go into making any high-performance training event a successful one.

“Today was the day the Soldiers put everything they learned together from the past five weeks of planning and training. Everything led to a successful training exercise,” said 1st Sgt. Rocky Carr, the 289th Quartermaster First Sergeant.

“We started with classroom-based training and slide presentations - to practicing hand-and-arm signals - to progressing to the different types of slings and finally to the training that was seen,” said Carr.

“97 Soldiers rotated in and out in three-man teams and everyone got a chance to participate. I had the maintenance, supply and NBC Soldiers out there and everyone across the board said this was the best sergeant’s time training they had in the Army,” he said. “It was simply awesome.”

For the commander of the 289th Quartermaster Company, Capt. Anjeanette Lawson, the training was essential for her unit. “As a quartermaster company, we definitely have a role in resupply, and this training was just another way to accomplish the mission.”

“This training gave us the opportunity for everyone in the unit, regardless of their MOS, to cross-train and understand sling-load operations from hand-and-arm signals to the actual execution,” said Lawson.

The training was not only beneficial to the Soldiers of the 289th, but it also profited the aviators assigned to 4/3 Armored Cavalry Regiment.

“Being a utility helicopter pilot is a very flexible and dynamic job,” said 1st Lt. Colin Sattler, a platoon leader with Stetson Troop. “Being a part of this training helps hone and sharpen our skill set too.”

“We had a couple of helicopter teams that have not had a lot of experience with sling-load operations, so we decided to make this a training event for us too by rotating teams in and out in order to become more familiar,” said Sattler.

One thing was certain for all the Soldiers who completed the training. There were smiles on everyone’s faces.

“It was exciting training, I have never done anything like it,” said Spc. Valencia Wilson, an automated logistics specialist with the company and first time working with sling-load operations. “It was so exciting, I almost forgot to let go.”


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