Rescuing on the fly: Big Red One aviators implement new survival training scenario | Article | The United States Army

FORT RILEY, Kan. — Aviators from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, tested a new self-extraction training scenario designed to save lives in the most dire of circumstances during a survival and evasion exercise in mid-November.

“This is a nonstandard event,” Capt. Tony Snipes, commander of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, said. “There is no Army standard, so we are trying to standardize it and execute it as professionally as possible.”

The scenario placed the aviation Soldiers in a simulated hostile environment where they were required to make their way from a “downed” OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter to a designated pickup zone more than a kilometer away. Once at the pickup zone, the stranded aviators were rescued by their fellow Kiowa pilots. Since the Kiowa is such a small aircraft, the rescued Soldiers had to secure themselves to the outside of the aircraft using straps connected to their flight gear.

The self-extraction technique was used in Iraq in 2004 during the rescue of downed OH-58D Kiowa Warrior pilots Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chad Beck and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Greg Crow. It was used again in Iraq in 2007 following the downing of an aircraft piloted by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Burrows and Chief Warrant Officer Steven Cianfrini. In both instances, the rescued pilots rode outside of an AH-64 Apache secured by a nylon strap attached to the pilots’ vests.

via Rescuing on the fly: Big Red One aviators implement new survival training scenario | Article | The United States Army.

When a Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) or MEUSOC deploys, one mission they have as a “canned” scenario is TRAP, or Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel.  When Scott O’Grady was shot down in the Balkans in 1999, it was the Marines that executed a TRAP mission to recover him.

Such a mission is not commonly practiced by Army units. I have gone through a couple of training scenarios with this in mind, but it wasn’t a core mission, but more an attempt to add a little something to break the monotony.

But as the article notes, using wingmen to self-extract a unit’s personnel has been done under fire. This training is an attempt to discover what works, and what doesn’t, and more importantly, do it before the bullets start flying.

Good on 1/6CAV for stepping up.

9 thoughts on “Rescuing on the fly: Big Red One aviators implement new survival training scenario | Article | The United States Army”

  1. I can’t speak for everyone in Army aviation but the aviation units I was in always practiced this maneuver (called a SPUR RIDE). The two particular instances referred to in the article were accomplished by my Battalion 1-227th AVN, 1CD aka “First Attack”.

    That same unit also carried out a Spur Ride during Desert Storm as well.

    The technique was first used during Vietnam when a crew member(s) was flown out on the open ammo bay door of an AH-1 Cobra.

    I have a real problem with PAO’s that send out a story that while true doesn’t really have the entire story.

  2. Outlaw, it sounds like one of two things. Either those experiences have been forgotten, or they haven’t done any research. Prolly both.

    I think the Brits have done the same with Apaches and, in some cases, inserted small groups that way. My portable memory unit may be malfunctioning due to age of the hardware but it doesn’t seem too long ago that I read that.

  3. The Brits did that in Afghanistan, don’t recall the date but obviously after 2001.

    The technique is discussed in the TACOPS Officer course which is taught at Fort Rucker or at least was as late as 2010. Can’t vouch whether it is still in the curriculum, but it more than likely still is.

  4. Someone did this with 64s when I was in Ramadi in 07. We were supported by an ARNG unit at the time, but I am not sure if it was them, or someone else .

  5. they did well . It didn’t take long before they were greatly preferred to our other option, that being USMC Cobras. Even the Marine BNs working with us preferred 64s and the ability to actually get crazy and talk directly to the actual crew , not to mention station time, ordnance, and the willingness to come below 1500 feet .

    1. I have another friend (a retired CW4) whose son is a Marine who was there. He tells the same story and says a team of Apaches saved his squad’s life.

      When I flew in support of the second battle of Fallujah we had an e-mail from a Marine MAJ hanging up in our TOC where he stated that he would rather have Army attack aviation supporting him than Marine helos. We were rather proud of that.

Comments are closed.