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Minnesota National Guard
Aviation Brigade Strengthens Force with Chinook Upgrade

Minnesota National Guard The Minnesota National Guard's Bravo Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment - the Chinook outfit famous for taking the "All Night Long" moniker after their latest deployment - recently sent more than 80 percent of its pilots, flight engineers and crew chiefs to Fort Stewart, Ga, to become proficient on the upgraded model "F" CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter

"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



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Minnesota National Guard conducts react to contact drills with Montenegro Armed Forces

Posted: 2016-09-14  10:13 AM
Immediate Response 16 U.S. and Montenegrin Soldiers tested their ability to perform battle drills that included squad attacks, react to contact, break contact, and react to ambush while supporting Immediate Response 16 at the Croatian Armed Forces training area of Slunj, Croatia.

"Training like IR16 gets the younger Soldiers the experience in a little more than just what we do at home by going to a different country, seeing a different culture, meeting different people, establishing relationships that you would never get if you go overseas," said Sgt. George Langstaff, a squad leader assigned to the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry.

The exercise and simulations are built upon a decisive action-based scenario and are designed to enhance regional stability, strengthen allied and partner nation capacity, and improve interoperability among partner nations.



University of Minnesota, Minnesota National Guard partner for crisis simulation exercise

Posted: 2016-09-13  04:28 PM
Disaster Simulation Exercise CANNON FALLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard partnered with the University of Minnesota and other humanitarian organizations in a collaborative program to train students and prospective humanitarian aid workers during a three-day Humanitarian Crisis Simulation exercise at the Phillippo Scout Reservation in Cannon Falls, Sept. 9-11, 2016.

"A goal is to help students gain an appreciation of humanitarian work by putting them in an environment typical of humanitarian crises," said Dr. Eric James, co-instructor for the course. "We put the students into complex scenarios so they can apply the knowledge and skills learned from the course. They get to experience first-hand the stress of making a decision under pressure while providing aid to refugees in an unfamiliar country."

The Minnesota National Guard has participated in the exercise for the past four years, strengthening interagency relationships with local and international humanitarian organizations.



Minnesota National Guard hosts fun run to bring awareness to suicide prevention efforts

Posted: 2016-09-09  11:12 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard is hosting a "Power of One" Fun Run, Sunday, September 11, during National Suicide Prevention Week to call attention to suicide prevention efforts in the military and civilian communities.

The run will take place at the Benjamin Franklin Readiness Center in Arden Hills and will help Minnesota Guardsmen meet annual suicide prevention training requirements while building unit cohesion and encouraging connectedness between battle buddies, family members and local community resource providers. The run emphasizes the power that one individual has to save a life and prevent suicide.

"The Minnesota National Guard is committed to preventing suicides in our organization," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. "We are continually looking for new ways to bring the suicide prevention message to our Service members. Our people are our most precious resource and one loss to suicide is one too many."



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