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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: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.