"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.
Posted: 2015-04-18 05:47 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seemingly endless hours and meticulous planning become the norm after more than a week of exhaustive preparation by the Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team preparing for a brigade Warfighter exercise at Camp Ripley Training Center.
"This is a tempo that we typically don't operate at," said 1st Lt. Paul Modeen, the brigade assistant operations officer. "From day one, when our advance party arrived to begin setting up our mission command post, we have been going full speed."
After two days of constructing the elaborate tent structure, networking dozens of work stations and establishing a perimeter to simulate working in a tactical environment, brigade staff began the intensive planning that goes into major military operations. Even before the Warfighter exercise was set to begin, hundreds of brigade Soldiers began working through the Army's strategy for large-scale project management, the Military Decision Making Process.
Posted: 2015-04-16 05:26 PM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2015
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
More than 300 hundred Minnesota National Guard women will gather together for the first Joint Female Professional Development Training Symposium at Metropolitan State University on April 18, 2015.
"The day is going to be packed full of growth and development opportunities for skills advancement, communication/networking, career mapping, being a leader and competing in the arena," said Lt. Col. Barb Pazdernik, event coordinator.
Approximately 20 percent of Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airmen are women. With more than 13,000 members, it's no secret that more males are in leadership positions - but solutions are in place to change that.
Posted: 2015-04-15 03:00 PM
Since 1986, the Department of Defense has celebrated April as the "Month of the Military Child", a recognition of the courage of and sacrifices made by children of military parents. More than 1.7 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military many of whom have deployed several times.
"Month of the Military Child is great here in Minnesota," said the Minnesota National Guard's Family Programs Director Army Capt. Marian Belinski during a recent interview on Minnesota Military Radio. "We have phenomenal support from the government officials to our military leadership and the community in general."
Posted: 2015-04-14 08:53 AM ST. PAUL, Minn. - "Each year Joining Community Forces events strengthen the synchronization of effort across the state in sharing resources and building partnerships in support of military-connected residents." said Minnesota National Guard Director of Military Outreach, Annette Kuyper.
Registration closes Wednesday, April 15, for both afternoon and evening meetings that are scheduled for Albert Lea on April 23; Alexandria on April 30; Willmar on May 7; Cloquet on May 14; and Richfield on May 20.
"These meetings are important to the Yellow Ribbon Networks because it allows them to learn about how other communities are connecting with Service members, veterans and military families as well as how to connect with resources they can tap into to support them," said Kuyper.