3rd Brigade soldiers ship out for training - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

3rd Brigade soldiers ship out for training

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

The 3rd Brigade combat team is on the move again. This time 35 soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment are shipping out to Fort Bragg, NC for a Joint Operation Air Access Exercise.

"It's designed to have all the Air Force, the Army, and the Marines participating together. They're going to do a simulated attack into a contested air field, and once we seize the lodgment the battalion will go in afterwards to expand that lodgment and then push out to a [sic] counter attack force," Lieutenant Colonel John Pirog said.

Lieutenant Colonel Pirog says the exercise will prepare the unit to be able to perform missions anywhere in the world. Going with the soldiers are two M1A2 Abrams tanks and two Bradley fighting vehicles.

The soldiers loaded them into three C-17 aircrafts at Lawson Army Air Field at Fort Benning. It's been over a decade since the technique has been used.

"For the past 10 years, we've done most of it by sea and by ground going into Iraq and Afghanistan; now we'll actually be able to move out tanks and Bradleys by air. It hasn't been done in probably a better part of a decade. So we're rebooting all those old skills," said LTC Pirog.

Although the soldiers make it look easy, there's a lot that goes into getting the tanks and Bradleys on the planes.

"There's a lot to it from weighing the vehicles, making sure they are mechanically sound to be loaded up and also particular is how the Air Force wants that vehicle to be able to fly," said LTC Pirog.

The tanks can weigh up to 70 tons and the Bradleys around 30 tons. Captain Sean Huss has been flying C-17s for about six years. Along with three other men, Captain Huss will fly one of the planes to Fort Bragg.

"It's like any moving vehicle. There's a lot of momentum involved. The more weight you put on, the heavier that jet is, the tougher it is to slow down; it's like stopping a baseball, versus stopping a car," pilot, Captain Sean Huss said.

The training is scheduled to begin next week.

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