Visit makes a splash

2 April 2024

Soldiers from the United States Army’s 16th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) visited Army Aviation at RAAF Base Townsville from January 31 to February 10.

The visit was part of an ongoing exchange between Australia and the US to support the introduction to service of the AH-64E Apache and UH-60M Black Hawk. 

Commander 16th Aviation Brigade Brigadier Fern Thompson said it was an important opportunity to exchange ideas with the US.

“The visit by 16 CAB soldiers enhances and broadens each partners’ understanding of how the other operates, strengthens ties and enables future aircraft operations,” Brigadier Thompson said.

“It also supports the development of our own training, techniques, procedures and methods of operating new aircraft types into the future.

“We are privileged to host the soldiers from 16 CAB and to offer future training opportunities.”

As part of the visit, 10 soldiers from 16 CAB got hands-on with Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) conducted by ERGT (safety, survival and emergency response training) at Lavarack Barracks.

An essential competency for aircrew and frequent overwater flyers, HUET helps increase the chances of survival in the event of a ditched aircraft.

Participants learn the theory and practical skills, including how to exit an aircraft in the event of a ditching in water and how to survive at sea.

US Black Hawk pilot First Lieutenant Jacob Lamar, of the 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, said the chance to do HUET was phenomenal.

“The training is incredibly valuable for us. We are a coastal-based unit and making a big push for overwater operations,” First Lieutenant Lamar said.

“Having the availability and the resources to be able to do this increases our overall safety readiness.”

US Black Hawk crew chief Sergeant Garrett Miller, who also took part in HUET, said it was great to spend more time with their Australian Army Aviation counterparts. 

“Last year I visited 6th Aviation Regiment to conduct training and evaluation activities for UH-60M and this time I completed HUET,” Sergeant Miller said.

“After conducting HUET in a simulator, doing it for real helped to consolidate my training.”



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