Video Staff Sgt. Jason Bailey
From AFN Korea
Story by SSG Vincent Abril, 2ID.korea.army.mil
The 2nd Assault Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, also known as the “Wildcards,” stationed at Seoul Air Base train and qualify in the use of the air volcano mine system. The system serves a critical role in deterrence against North Korean advances by enabling United States Forces Korea the capability to lay down a large amount of land mines efficiently.
WONJU, South Korea –The 2nd Assault Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, also known as the “Wildcards,” stationed at Seoul Air Base conducted an Air Volcano Air Crew Qualification Range Sept. 14-15 at Tactical Training Assembly Area Tom near Wonju, South Korea.
During the two-day exercise pilots and crew chiefs qualified using the M-139 Air Volcano Mine dispensing system deployed from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
The Air Volcano Mine system is unique to 2nd CAB because they are the only unit on the peninsula that currently deploys the system. The system also serves a critical role in deterrence against North Korean advances by enabling United States Forces Korea the capability to lay down a large amount of land mines efficiently.
“The Volcano Mine system provides a significant counter-offensive capability that can rapidly be employed anywhere on the Korean Peninsula to stop potential North Korean attacks,” said Lt. Col. Erick O. Gilbert, commander of the 2-2nd Avn.
According to Gilbert, the pilots and crew chiefs are required to qualify on the system quarterly during day and at night operations using night vision goggles.
“The Wildcard Battalion conducts aircrew and armament personnel qualification training quarterly and are scheduled to introduce an integrated tactical training scenario into our quarterly events this fall,” said Gilbert.
In addition to the day and night portion of the qualifications, the Wildcards made valuable use of their training opportunity to allow additional Soldiers to refine their skills.
“We also continued to refine our hot rearming techniques and procedures with Echo Company, 2-2nd Avn., our distribution platoon,” added Gilbert. “On the uneven rock bed of TAA Tom, in austere conditions, our support Soldiers without hesitation got their much needed training while supporting the mission at hand.”
Soldiers from Bravo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, were also on hand to provide a forward area refueling point to support the Wildcards operations. “The “FATCOW” CH-47 Chinook helicopter refuel point setup was critical to our success on the range,” Gilbert said.
“Our training area at TAA Tom still has limited vehicular access and our fuel trucks were not able to setup on TAA Tom. So without the professional support of 3-2nd GSAB our range would have been much more difficult to complete,” he continued.
As training went on day and night, the pilots and crews familiarized themselves with the two different types of training mines.
“We employed two types of training canisters, the M89 inert training canisters that primarily replicate the weight for the system and the M88 training canisters that shoot inert training mines that are filled with metal only,” said Gilbert.
“Together these allow us to train with the actual weight of the actual system and simulate firing the entire load,” he said.