"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: 2014-10-31 10:55 AM ST. PAUL, Minn.- Ninety-six airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing are scheduled to return next week to Minnesota following a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia.
"Our Airmen are coming home after a great deployment. Their diligence and constant strive for excellence showed in their efforts and accomplishments while deployed. Their high level of readiness paid huge dividends as they successfully flew and directly supported numerous C-130 re-supply and humanitarian airlift missions in the region. I am proud of each and every one of our Airmen and am glad all have come back safely to their families," said Air Force Col. Jim Johnson, 133rd Airlift Wing commander.
Posted: 2014-10-29 12:32 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- In 2010, the Army published the Training Circular (TC) 3-22.20, codifying a long-held view by many in the service that physical readiness training, PRT, is more than just pushups, sit-ups and running.
"The Army PRT System is performance-based, incorporating physically-demanding activities that prepare Soldiers and units to accomplish physical requirements," said Maj. Neal Wilson, Camp Ripley garrison safety officer.
Posted: 2014-10-25 03:22 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- A program started in 2012 to help non-commissioned officers develop and progress in their careers is now available to all Minnesota National Guard non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in the grade of E-5 and above.
The Minnesota National Guard mentorship program provides mentor support for NCOs who wish to further and enhance their careers and gain insight from experienced senior NCOs. The program is open to both the Army and Air National Guard.
Posted: 2014-10-25 01:40 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Senior enlisted leaders from the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard gathered at Camp Ripley, October 25-26 to discuss leadership, mentorship, career development and the way ahead for Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard.
Along with discussions about leadership, the focus of many discussions was the changing environment due to military budget cuts and what that means for Service members. As budgets dwindle, personnel cuts are a very real threat that will force the Minnesota National Guard and all military organizations to identify and maintain only the best of the best.
Posted: 2014-10-22 03:53 PM CHISHOLM, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard's Chisholm-based 114th Transportation Company is scheduled to hold their 30-day reintegration event and welcome home ceremony Saturday at Chisholm High School after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
"A priority of the Minnesota National Guard is to improve the wellness and resiliency of service members and their family members," said Army Capt. Ryan R. Koester, 114th Transportation Company Commander.