Blackhawk helicopter training on Fort Benning - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Blackhawk helicopter training on Fort Benning

FORT BENNING, GA - An empty Blackhawk touches down waiting for soldiers to jump in.  Slegdehammer Soldiers of Fort Benning's 3rd Brigade are training to do just that.

About half of these 60 soldiers apart of the training, like Private Bradley Loveland, have never been in a Blackhawk helicopter until today.

"There's a lot of dangerous stuff in the military, but we take every safety precaution that could possibly be taken," said Loveland.

The soldiers are briefed on everything from safety belts to emergency procedures, practice loading in the Blackhawks, and then, dive in for the real thing.

They fly over to a mock town on Fort Benning complete with a hotel and underground piping like those in the Middle East exiting the choppers and hitting the ground running.

Army Captain Caleb Phillips says realistic training like this is vital to surviving in combat.

"Soldiers overseas are entering and clearing houses or having to fire their weapons from abnormal places like attics or rooftops, and we're going to push them to be able to do those abnormal type things to get them out of their comfort zone," said Phillips.

Soldiers like Pvt. Loveland say they need to know they can rely on those who have been in the Army for years with deployment experience. 

Specialist Edward Licudine just got back from Iraq 8 months ago. He tells News Leader Nine training like this is just as important for experienced soldiers.

"The repetition, make the muscle memory so when you're inside that place and [you can do it] without thinking.  You're in your points where you need to be scanning your sector," said Licudine.

"If there is something I don't know what to do, I know I can always turn to one of them and they can always provide an answer that's going to be safe and accurate," said Loveland.

Capt. Phillips says, at the end of the day, this kind of training is also fun for the soldiers.

"You'd be surprised what a helicopter will do to motivate a soldier to get him excited about what he's doing and serving his country."

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