Saturday, June 27, 2009

Navy SEALS, TF-49 Pilots Conduct Joint Training During NE 09

By Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Rholes, Northern Edge Joint Information Bureau Public Affairs

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (NNS) -- Thirteen operators from a West-coast based SEAL team worked hand and hand with Army pilots from Task Force 49, 1-52 Aviation Battalion, Bravo Company to perform final checks on equipment during a training evolution designed to promote and develop interoperability June 15.

The exercise was part of Exercise Northern Edge 2009 (NE09), which is one of a series of U.S. Pacific Command exercises that prepare joint forces to respond to crises in the Asian Pacific region.

Pilots aboard the Chinook CH-47D used this evolution to practice troop transportation and dropping troops while using a two-wheel landing.

"Troops transportation is a large part of what we do, but something we have not been able to train for lately," said Capt. Thomas Pierce, Chinook pilot.
"Having these guys in the back added an element of realism unattainable with our ground units currently deployed."

Landing on two wheels allows pilots to drop troops in confined spaces that do not allow for conventional landings, added Pierce.

Although the training evolution provided a good training opportunity for the Army pilots, they were not the only ones who gained from the experience.

"We rarely get the chance to work with the Chinooks, so this is a good chance to familiarize ourselves with the airframe, and how to get on it and off it quickly," said Darrin, a SEAL who's rank and last name are withheld to protect his identity. "We use this airframe to get us to the fight and to get us out."

The pilots inserted the SEALs at three different locations. At each location, the SEAL team practiced exiting the aircraft quickly, establishing security and properly reboarding the aircraft while maintaining a security element. This evolution is one of several the SEAL team will participate in while attending NE09.