Reserve Component Aviation Update / COL Mark W. Weiss: Welcome back to the ARNG. In this edition I’d like to report on an example of flexibility and teamwork that falls under the mantra of MIH… Making It Happen. We’ve seen it before, in all components… our bureaucracy fails to cope with the friction generated by a complex system, and an intrepid individual or two steps up, cuts the red tape, and Makes It Happen.
Such an example is currently underway down in Arizona.
About a year ago, a dilemma arose: the UH-60M fielding schedule abruptly changed, compressing the fieldings within the ARNG and essentially doubling the new equipment training (NET) required. Funding for this requirement had not been programmed, and Fort Rucker and Fort Eustis had insufficient institutional capacity to absorb the increased workload. Additionally, the Program Manager’s UH-60M NET team had a 7-month gap between AC fieldings that needed to be filled, in order to maintain the momentum of the program. A creative solution was needed.
It arose when UH-60 Program Management Office (PMO) personnel sat down with the ARNG and began brainstorming. What evolved was a feasible plan in which multiple agencies and organizations could contribute toward the cause and collectively meet the mission. Their “creative” UH-60M NET kicked off in January of this year, and early results are most promising.
This NET is conducted at the Western ARNG Aviation Training Site (WAATS), located at Marana, Arizona. WAATS’s main mission is to serve as a satellite campus to Fort Rucker University, and qualify folks on the UH-60L and UH-72A. Its normal annual throughput is about 500 trainees, in courses ranging from 15P-Aviation Operations Specialist, to UH-72A Maintainer, to UH-72 Instructor Pilot. On top of this workload, the UH-60M NET would add another 500 students in just 6 months – both maintainers and pilots.
But as I mentioned, this was truly a team effort:
- WAATS provided the facility and life support for all students.
- Seven states (LA, MI, MT, ND, OK, SD, and WI) contributed 16 UH-60M aircraft for all training.
- The PMO provided the contract instructor pilots (S3, Inc.).
- LA provided a TBOS to cover simulation requirements.
- Fort Eustis (128th Avn. Bde.) provided the required maintenance trainers.
- 13 States provided the trainees from the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Quite the stew, but it’s working. Right now there are sixteen UH-60M Aircraft Qualification Course (AQC) students, sixteen 15T Additional Skill Identifier-9 students, six 15N students, and three 15F students undergoing training. And this will continue for the next six months.
Here are a few of the outstanding ARNG soldiers who are Making It Happen down at the WAATS:
- SFC Matthew Langseth and SSG Eunice Deeds conduct in- and out-processing and take care of all UH60M NET administrative needs.
- CW2 Christopher Marcott is the WAATS Maintenance Officer in Charge; he coordinates all aircraft movements, inventories, and maintenance.
- CW2 Ryan Skog is the WAATS S-4, and coordinates living arrangements, non-aircraft equipment movement (conexes, training devices), and other operational details.
Flexibility and teamwork… hallmarks of ARNG Aviation. We “MIH!”
Fly Safe; fly Guard.
COL Mark Weiss is the chief of the Army National Guard Aviation and Safety Division located in Arlington, VA.