July 29, 2009

Maintenance company keeps the Blackhawks flying

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

SANDSTON, Va. — Keeping 30 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters running for the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment is no easy task, but someone has to do it. Company D of the battalion works tirelessly to do just that and this year’s annual training was no exception.

  Company D, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Battalion

Staff Sgt. Stacy Johnson of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment maintains a UH-60 Blackhawk during annual training. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen)

The Soldiers of Company D returned to their Armory in Sandston July 25 after deploying to Fort McCoy, Wisc., for two weeks to complete their annual training. As the maintenance company, the Soldiers worked around the clock to keep the mission flying along.

“We had a couple of guys here that worked avionics and electronics that worked night-ops,” said to Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin Franklin, a platoon sergeant in Company D. “Their shift started at 1530 everyday, they came in and got chow and they stayed out their until mission complete. There were a couple of days they were out there until 0630.”

The mechanics performed over 150 man-hours of scheduled and unscheduled aircraft maintenance on many of the Blackhawk aircraft that were at McCoy supporting Exercise Global Patriot, including an engine change, according to Franklin.

“We assisted in the repairs and maintenance involved in keeping the Blackhawks up and running and daily inspections,” said Pvt. Charles Lauer. “I personally had involvement in five or six birds, some of them multiple times.”

In addition to keeping the “birds” in the air, Company D Soldiers also focused keeping their common warrior skills finely sharpened. The company successfully qualified 100 percent of its Soldiers on their individual weapons, trained their Soldiers in Humvee roll-over training, as well as meeting 100 percent suicide prevention requirements, according to Franklin.

Soldiers of Company D were also given the opportunity to unwind and let down their hair. On Saturday during a safety stand down day, the Soldiers took time off from their training and were given the opportunity to enjoy the many Morale, Welfare, Recreation facilities on Fort McCoy.

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