September 22, 2003, 16:55 EDT

1-116th Infantry conducts Media Day

By Lt. Col. Chester Carter, III
Public Affairs Officer

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment get ready to lift off for rappelling operations. (Photo by Lt. Col. Chester Carter, III, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office) Click HERE to see more photos.

The soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 116 th Infantry Regiment were fully engaged in their training mission during their September drill.   The soldiers of the “Red Dragon” battalion traveled from their home armories in Christiansburg, Pulaski, Radford, Clifton Forge, and Bedford to the battalion headquarters in Roanoke.

The soldiers participated in not only “Best Squad” competition designed to identify the best infantry squad in the 1st Bn., but they also supported an open house and conducted rappelling operations from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.  


Best Squad competition tested the mettle of all the battalion's infantry squads.   The competition determines soldier proficiency on a host of infantry tasks including map reading and other related tasks.   Soldiers also received training to prepare them to rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.   On Saturday morning soldiers assembled in Victory Stadium which is located next to the Roanoke Armory.   There, under the watchful eye of Rappel Masters, soldiers demonstrated the skills necessary to safely rappel down the 50 foot side of the stadium.   Only after the soldiers successfully demonstrated rappelling proficiency did the Rappel Master approve them to rappel from the UH-60 that afternoon.  

The UH-60 from the 2 nd Battalion, 224 th Aviation in Sandston, Va. arrived at the River's Edge Sports Complex near the Roanoke Armory around 1 o'clock.   Several soccer games were temporarily halted as the Black Hawk settled down between two soccer fields.   Once the rotor blades came safely to a stop folks crowded around to see the aircraft.   The flight crew explained the various aspects of the aircraft and its mission as almost non-stop questions came from the curious onlookers that had gathered.   Soldiers from the 1 st Battalion, 116 th Infantry arrived at the soccer field to board the helicopter.   By 2 o'clock battalion soldiers were rappelling out of the UH-60 to the delight of the crowd.   Over 40 soldiers took part in the rappelling which proved to be the highlight of the open house as well as the training.

At the end of the day a squad from Company B, 1st Bn., 116th Inf. was selected as “The Best.”   They were recognized by the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Fred Doyle, for their performance and accomplishment.   A pig roast where soldiers were able to sit and enjoy dinner and exchange stories topped off the day.   The “Red Dragon” battalion accomplished a great deal on that day.   Soldiers trained in a demanding and competitive environment.   The citizens of Roanoke learned about their community based military force, the 1 st Battalion, 116 th Infantry, Virginia Army National Guard.   And finally, people had the opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and share them with friends.

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