Huey donation provides new training possibilities at Crisis City

Huey donation provides new training possibilities at Crisis City

20-Sep-2012 Source: Kansas Adjutant General

The morning air was filled with the thumping of CH-47 Chinook blades as it sling-loaded a UH-1 Huey helicopter to the Crisis City’s training ground Sept. 6, near Salina, Kan. Provided on permanent loan to Crisis City by the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, airlifted the aircraft to its new home.

Crisis City is a state of the art first responder, emergency management, military, civil and private industry training site 10 miles southwest of Salina, Kan., operated by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

An aircraft venue at Crisis City was a long time coming. It finally came to fruition as a formal request was made for a downed aircraft venue by the 601st ASB for upcoming training. With that request, Brian Darnell, the exercise specialist for Crisis City, made a call to Det. 1, 184th Regional Support Group, 184th Intelligence Wing, who manage the largest and busiest Air National Guard bombing range in the nation.

“We have quite a few Hueys out on the target area. Brian and Chief [Master Sgt. James] Weldy came out and looked at all of them and chose one that was in good shape. A couple days later, the 601st from Fort Riley came over and made sure it was structurally sound to airlift out,” said Lt. Col. Russ Allen, commander of Det. 1, 184th RSG, 184th Intel. Wing. “Two days later, Fort Riley came out and picked it up with another helicopter and brought it over to where it is now.”

With the Huey in place at Crisis City, the 601st was able to complete all their required training missions on location during the week of Sept. 10.

“The one big mission we did here was a downed aircraft mission, to where if an aircraft goes down, they bring us on the ground to set up a perimeter and we make sure it’s safe for the recovery team to come in and secure the aircraft,” said Spc. Matthew Allen, Company B, 601st Aviation Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

“This type of training is pertinent to our [aviation] battalion. We have sling-loaded before, but to have an actual aircraft here definitely increases the training because it brings a realistic aspect to it,” said Spc. Allen. “For the [Down Aircraft Recovery Team] guys, the guys that actually hook up the aircraft, it was good for them to have the aircraft there to have actual hands-on experience.”

With the new venue, units will also be able to do egress training, evacuating an aircraft in an emergency situation; extrication training; aircraft recovery; search and rescue; along with sending out a downed aircraft recovery team.

“It’s all this joint training that we do out here between the Air Force range, the Army range and Crisis City. Crisis City now has the helicopter for all the training they do. They don’t just train civilians. They train active duty Army units, the Army Guard and Air Guard come out, too. It’s a benefit to not just us, but it’s a benefit to all the different units that come out,” said Lt. Col. Allen. “In the end, the Air Guard will get an added capability in training out here at some point as well as all the other units. Our job at the detachment is to train the war fighter and this was an opportunity for us to do just that indirectly by putting this helicopter on loan to Crisis City.”

With Crisis City located inside the Great Plains Joint Training Center and Army firing range units are able to complete multiple facets of training in one visit.

“I like Crisis City because it tests my ability to leave Fort Riley using tactical convoy operations from Fort Riley to [Crisis City], tests my command maintenance, how well my mechanics are doing on vehicles, and once we get here we have everything we want here,” said Lt. Col. Allen Lancetta, commander of the 601st ASB. “We have all the small arms ranges, air ground integrations lanes, as well as Crisis City which has a [Military Operations in Urban Terrain] site I can utilize. We have done air assaults the last couple of days, air ground integration, down aircraft recovery teams, as well utilize the MOUT terrain to engage targets which are our convoys for the last three days.

“Everything is here, everything is right here. I can keep my soldiers here and wake them up at 0630 for training,” said Lancetta. “The best part about being here is that we are focused on training, we can get it done. We can accomplish the training events here that would normally take us a month to a month and a half at Fort Riley because there we are competing for ranges. We can come here from Monday to Friday and the ranges are ours. It’s a great facility.”

“I think that the people here at Crisis City are great. This is a great training area that has a lot of things to offer. It gets us away from our barracks and out here away for a week to train and solely focus on training,” said Spc. Allen.

[File photo]

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