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Minnesota National Guard
Aviation Soldiers conduct air assault training at Camp Ripley

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn " Soldiers from the A Co, 2nd 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

An air assault mission is, "the deliberate movement of troops into an area to disrupt and surprise the enemy," said Minnesota Army National Guard Cpt Shannon Gregory, company commander

This mission was designed to test the Soldiers of the company  They had to meet timing marks and 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

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There was an additional challenge added to the mission, winds were gusting up to 25 mph

"The wind makes flying more difficult," said Warrant Officer One Jennifer Shimek, a UH60 Black Hawk 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

"This was a great training opportunity for our pilots," said Gregory  "It gave our pilots an opportunity to meet their time hacks and on a day like today that can be a challenge  The gold standard is plus or minus 30 seconds and we accomplished that

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

Story and photos by 1st Lt Kenneth R Toole
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Nov 7, 2011

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