Mindful of the day when Afghan forces will need to conduct operations together, the Kandahar Air Wing were brought together with the 4th Lightning Strike Pathfinder Academy to conduct cargo loading and familiarization exercises. It was the first time the two had operated together.
The exercise took place on December 5 and was coordinated by Pathfinders of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, at Forward Operating Base Wolverine.
Teaching sling load and cargo movement techniques is judged to be an important part of overall training. “Once we leave and the Afghans take over, all sling loads and cargo movements will be conducted with Afghan aircraft,” said Sgt. Wyndol Shurley, a team leader with the Pathfinders, 2-25 AVN.
Cargo hooks are fitted externally to U.S. Army CH-47 Chinooks and UH-60 Black Hawks, whereas on the Mi-17s of the Afghan Air Force the hooks are inside the aircraft. This is the fourth academy to be held under the tutelage of 25th CAB. A policy of train the trainer has operated, with a couple of ex-students from previous classes returning as instructors.
“I taught most of the practical portions of the class to included slings loads, rigging a container, and hand and arm signals,” said Sgt. Zabiullah, a Pathfinder instructor with 4-205th. “I’m motivated that our own helicopters came here to support our training. This is a positive step forward in gaining the ability to defend our own nation.”
Six Afghan soldiers graduated two days later making a total of 32 soldiers graduated by the 2-25 Pathfinders. The Kandahar Air Wing is one of three Air Wings in the Afghan Air Force, these others being located in Kabul and Shindand.
Related: Training News