CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — When a civil disturbance happens in Kosovo, soldiers have to be ready to react within a moment’s notice and Multinational Battle Group-East troops train to do just that.
Armenian crowd riot control troops and soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment, North Dakota National Guard, conducted aerial rapid response training at Camp Bondsteel on March 12.
The training was part of a weeklong process to give both U.S. and Armenian soldiers the skills necessary to quickly and safely load and unload from Black Hawk helicopters.
“We will initially start out with cold load training which means the rotors aren’t turning,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sheldon Atwood, a pilot with the battalion.
“We will do that a couple of times under cold load and then the next time will be a hot load, where the rotors will be turning. The guys will then load on and we will take them on a flight.”
Atwood said the training and knowledge is instrumental to being able to react quickly in case a real-world event occurs.
“If they are comfortable with getting on and off the aircraft, that really makes things easier when it comes to real-world mission,” Atwood said. “You don’t want to be doing the training at that time.”
Armenian army platoon leader Capt. Avetisyan Slavik said the training was very important for his troops.
“Much of my troops have never been on a helicopter,” Slavik said. “We would like to make sure that everybody feels good about (flying on a helicopter) and will not be afraid in the future.”
The training was not only beneficial for the Armenian troops but for the U.S. troops as well, said Atwood.
“The pilots were trained on multinational operations because there is a lot of planning and coordination that goes into it,” Atwood said. “The crew chiefs get trained on how to deal with passengers and insuring the safety of the passengers while loading and unloading them.”
Atwood said training with multinational counterparts is a great opportunity.
“We enjoy it and I think they enjoy it,” he said. “It’s something different seeing the way that they train and how they operate so I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The training concluded at Camp Novo Selo, which is the primary area of responsibility for the Armenian CRC troops during civil disturbances.