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"We started in the fall of 2012 by sending certain aviators to the "F" model qualification course," said Army Capt Charles Eslinger, B Co commander "The remainder of our force left on Jan 8 to complete the Net Fielding Training on our five new Chinooks"
The two-month qualification course, wrapping up March 8, is conducted by a mobile training team that moves the upgraded helicopters to the training site and oversees the hands on training, Eslinger said The unit personnel have signed for the aircraft at the training site and are now becoming familiar with the equipment They will ultimately fly the upgraded Chinooks back to the Army Aviation Support Facility in St Cloud
"It's pretty neat because they're getting flight time, signing for and inventorying the Chinooks and doing maintenance training on them," Eslinger said "Most units, when they get new aircraft, they don't get the opportunity to train in an organized training environment"
One of the largest differences between the two models is the cockpit's new multifunctional display, which consists of five 8-inch by 5-inch monitors, Eslinger said The digitalized system, which replaces all old gauges and systems information displays found in the "D" model, shows advanced avionics and navigations systems and allows the pilots to page through different information displays
"It's almost information overload at first when going from the 'D' cockpit to the 'F' cockpit, but overall it enhances the pilot's situational awareness" Eslinger said
Another upgrade is the addition of the flight director system, which can be coupled with the aircraft systems to take control and execute the flight plan while the pilots manipulate and monitor the aircraft's performance, he said
"Essentially, we enter the information and the system takes these parameters that we want on the flight - altitude, airspeed, waypoints, etc - and flies these parameters when the system is engaged," Eslinger said "It is an incredible capability to see the aircraft respond to the digital inputs right before our eyes without us directly changing the controls"
The "F" model also boasts several significant structural upgrades, Eslinger said In addition to enhanced engine mounts and sheet metal features, the Chinook's rear pylon has been upgraded to shorten the disassembly and reassembly time required to move the Chinook helicopters to theaters around the world
"Normally when we move and ship the aircraft, it takes us almost a full day," Eslinger said "Now we can do it much faster - within hours"
Though the two-month school will make all of the unit's Soldiers proficient and qualified to operate and maintain the "F" model, training won't stop when they return from Fort Stewart, Eslinger said
"After spinning up our guys, we're going to start flying on a regular basis to completely transition from 'D' to 'F,'" he said "Our mission will be to become proficient with the Foxtrot, which will take some time We'll have to come up with different operating procedures and learn how to utilize the different features of the aircraft"
Eslinger said he anticipates comprehensive training flights to take place during the unit's 2013 annual training at Camp Ripley in June
By Army Sgt Patrick Loch
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Feb 13, 2013
Posted: 2016-10-17 03:24 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The 347th Regional Support Group hosted a brigade-level Best Warrior Competition at Camp Ripley Training Center from Oct. 14 to 16, 2016, to select the brigade's Best NCO and Best Soldier - both of whom will represent the brigade at the state-level competition in 2017.
"We made a point to make this event challenging, and it has been," said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Shields, assistant operations NCO for the brigade. "Regardless of the outcome, the Soldiers competing for the title of Best Warrior are getting great training value."
Ten Soldiers made up this year's field, representing 5 of the 9 units that make up the brigade. The contestants are supported by nearly forty Soldiers participating as sponsors, evaluators and staff to provide direction, motivation and support.
Posted: 2016-10-16 10:46 AM ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard celebrated Hispanic Heritage month by inviting two members of the Hispanic community to share their stories during a potluck lunch at the Arden Hills Army Training Site, Oct. 11, 2016.
First to speak was Minnesota State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, one of two Latinas out of 67 senators in the Minnesota Senate. She spoke about her experience coming to the U.S. from Colombia and how not being able to speak the language made it a challenge to connect with people in her new country.
"I was not a minority in my country, because everybody that I knew looked like me," said Torres Ray. "I was not connected to the multi-cultural global world that you live in."
Posted: 2016-10-12 01:57 PM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
After a successful appeal by Governor Mark Dayton to former National Guard Bureau Chief General Frank J. Grass, Major General Richard C. Nash will continue serving the state of Minnesota as Adjutant General until the state's mandatory retirement, through October 31, 2017. Without Governor Dayton's action, Major General Nash would have faced retirement under the national requirement, which would have taken effect September 30, 2016.
"Major General Nash is an exceptional leader who has served our state and nation with great distinction," said Governor Dayton. "His leadership and experience are invaluable to the Minnesota National Guard and the citizens of our state. I thank General Grass and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for granting this extension, and I thank Major General Nash for continuing his outstanding service to Minnesota."
Posted: 2016-10-12 12:45 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - An eagle was released back in the wild Oct. 4, 2016, at Camp Ripley following three months of rehabilitation.
"We'd like to thank the team at Camp Ripley for rescuing and bringing this bald eagle to the Raptor Center for care," said Amber Burnette, program associate with the Raptor Center University of Minnesota. "It was our pleasure to be a part of bringing this bird back home."
The bald eagle was found along a Morrison County highway by a soldier working at Camp Ripley in mid-July, 2016. At first glance, the bird appeared to be injured and not responding to the traffic that was driving by.