Arnold Fire and Emergency Services team gets up-close look at military helicopters

  • Published
  • By Deidre Moon
As U.S. Army helicopters one-by-one landed in the center of the running track outside the Administration and Engineering Building at Arnold Air Force Base Dec. 20, several passersby stopped to watch the aircraft, sending a cyclone of leaves flying as they maneuvered to the ground.

The helicopters - a MH-6 Little Bird, an UH-60 Black Hawk and a CH-47 Chinook - piloted by members of a U.S. Army unit based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were requested as part of the Arnold AFB Fire and Emergency Services team’s familiarization training with the aircraft.

“Periodically, we like to see if we can get the helicopters to come out here,” said Jim Evans, an assistant fire chief with FES. “This was the first time the helicopters have been able to make it down during this crew’s shift.”

Evans mentioned a part of the base is used by the U.S. Army for training purposes, so familiarity with these helicopters is important in the event FES is called to assist in a situation involving the aircraft.

“We train on how to approach and egress from helicopters safely, how to get the doors open and the location of equipment onboard,” he said. “It also gives us a chance to talk to the pilots and crews.

“In the event there’s an issue with one of these helicopters during an exercise on base, this type of training makes us familiar with the helicopter and how to get in it. It’s a good learning experience, because there are a lot of differences between military helicopters and the medevac air ambulances.”

While the FES team has opportunities to watch training videos about Army helicopters and their equipment, Evans explained that nothing beats the opportunity to get hands-on experience.

“There are videos and schematics, but actually being able to be hands-on and see where the switches and handles are, it helps increase our knowledge-base,” he said.

The helicopter familiarization training is only one of many exercises the FES team completes throughout the year.