PRISTINA - KFOR Unit of Regional Command-East conducted an external load training on Dec 3, to prove sustainment concepts. During the training, Soldiers of the 1-131st Aviation Regiment, Task Force Yellowhammer of the Alabama Army National Guard, secured pallets of bottled water to UH-60 helicopters and transported them from Camp Bondsteel to KFOR Soldiers on Camp Noting Hill near Leposavic, Kosovo.
The RC-East Brigade Aviation Officer, and helicopter pilot, said, "This specialized training is extremely intricate to execute and demands every crew member involved communicate effectively to ensure mission safety. Routine training is fundamental to maintaining proficiency and readiness."
External load transport, also known as sling load, secures any cargo beneath a helicopter to move from one point to another. Transporting supplies and equipment by sling load is beneficial when road conditions become unfavorable or a quicker resupply is needed.
The Executive Officer for the 1-131st Aviation Regiment, stated, "External load training is one of aviation's mission essential tasks that force our crews to focus on aircraft power management and aircrew coordination."
Task Force has conducted external load training once a week for the past month, becoming familiar with the environment and working with external units on the ground. External loading often involves transporting sustainment supplies such as food, water, or medical supplies.
The soldiers at Camp Nothing Hill have practiced for the last month on air operations in preparation for today's sling load. The Company Commander at Camp Nothing Hill said, "today's delivery really inspired our guys, we've practiced and practiced, but today we did it for real, which boosted their confidence. The added bonus about today was when we downloaded some Christmas presents and mail from back home." he also said, "after today, I am confident we can handle any future air assault missions."
KFOR comprises 27 nations. Its mission is to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo, as mandated by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999.