Eastern Army National Guard (ARNG) / By LTC(P) Gregg Clark and CSM (Ret.) Charles Reisinger: Last year, the Eastern ARNG Aviation Training Site (EAATS) achieved two major milestones – training and graduating the 10,000th enlisted Soldier; and breaking ground on the new Aviation Maintenance Instruction Building (AMIB) at Ft. Indiantown Gap, PA.
SFC Sean Merrill, an instructor at the Eastern ARNG Aviation Training Site, discusses the Black Hawk primary servo with a class. / NATIONAL GUARD PHOTO BY SSG BROCK LICHTENFELS, EASTERN AATS
In April 1989, National Guard Aviation determined the need to start enlisted training at the EAATS. The first course, the Observation Helicopter Repairer Familiarization Course (NGB-67V-6), had only 4 students. That first year, the EAATS trained 19 enlisted students.
In 1993, NGB realigned the EAATS and the Western ARNG Aviation Training Site (WAATS) missions. The EAATS new focus was cargo and utility mission training, so the Observation Helicopter mission moved to the WAATS. Through 1993, the EAATS graduated 440 enlisted students, primarily in the Observation Helicopter mission. During the same year, the EAATS received its first accreditation as a Reserve Component Training Institute.
After 1993, the EAATS enlisted training mission expanded quickly – the program graduated 555 enlisted students through 11 programs of instruction (POIs) in 1994 and reached an annual high of 935 enlisted graduates, in 22 POIs, during 1995. This included the beginning of UH-60 training for the National Guard, where the EAATS trained 80 students with a New Equipment Training Team (NETT).
In 1996, the EAATS transitioned to Total Army School System (TASS) POIs, increasing the overall length of courses and instructor to student contact hours. This change provided better training for all Army aviation enlisted maintainers; however, the increased training requirements necessitated additional hands-on practical exercises through maintenance training devices or actual aircraft dedicated to maintenance training. It was not until 2001 and 2002 respectfully that the EAATS received its first two Black Hawk Hardware Maintenance Trainers (BHMT) to support UH-60A/L (15T) training; and in 2007, the training site received the first Chinook Hardware Maintenance Trainer (CHMT) to support CH-47D (15U) training.
Today, the EAATS has six Black Hawk training devices and three Chinook training devices (two of which are CH-47F trainers) supporting National Guard enlisted maintenance training. Additionally, the EAATS trains the UH-60 Aircraft Standardization Instructor Course (ASIN1) and the CH-47 Enlisted Flight Engineer Course (NGB-EFEC). As well as training National Guard, Active Duty, and Reserve Component Soldiers, the EAATS conducts enlisted training through foreign military sales and an exchange program with the Logistic Assistance Representative (LAR) University at Corpus Christi Army Depot.
As the enlisted training demand increases for the Army Aviation Enterprise, the EAATS is preparing for even more growth in 15T and 15U training. The training site will transition its maintenance training into the AMIB during the 3rd QTR FY17. Additionally, the EAATS will accept two BHMT-M in the 2nd & 3rd QTR this year to expand its UH-60 training to the M-Model Additional Skill Identifier (ASIA9). The new building will house eleven maintenance trainers, contain five new state-of-the-art classrooms, and support at least 15 POIs at the EAATS.
The EAATS is well postured to continue providing the best aviation enlisted training in the world. The philosophy is simple – safety first, treat Soldiers as professionals, eliminate distracters, and train using the most modern technology, equipment, and information available.
Training for Excellence – ABOVE THE BEST!
COL J. Ray Davis is the chief of the Army National Guard Aviation and Safety Division located in Arlington, VA. LTC(P) Gregg Clark is the commander of the Eastern AATS; CSM (Ret.) Charles Reisinger is a former command sergeant major at the Eastern AATS.
SFC Sean Merrill, an instructor at the Eastern ARNG Aviation Training Site, discusses the Black Hawk primary servo with a class.