Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

ROTC cadets to train using 6 Blackhawk helicopters


The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters will land on the Student Rec Center Fields at approximately 1 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. Friday. Kenneth Travis, battalion commander in the ROTC and a junior majoring in operations management, is aiding in the planning of this event, which will primarily benefit Bravo company, the ROTC’s freshmen and sophomores.

“The Bravo company is freshmen and sophomores, and the Alpha company is juniors and seniors,” Travis said. “The freshmen and sophomores are the ones going on the field training activity.

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“We usually take helicopters in the spring, but the two helicopters we usually take are too heavy to land on campus,” Travis said. “Because [Blackhawks] are lighter, we are able to land them on campus.”

The Blackhawks will be flown by Alabama Army National Guardsmen. Each helicopter holds 11 people, and freshmen and sophomores will be the main passengers.

“We are one of few institutions that have such a beneficial connections with the Alabama Army National Guard,” Travis said. “With the assistance of the 131st Aviation Regiment, we are able to conduct world-class training on a yearly basis.”

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Lt. Col. Ken Kemmerly, professor of military science, said the ROTC has a special relationship with the National Guard that makes events like this possible.

“Alabama adets benefit from realistic and one-of-a-kind training in air mobile operations, while the Guard benefits from conducting realistic training of inserting an infantry-sized element,” Kemmerly said. “Our appreciation of the Guard is especially acute since we recognize we are one of few schools in the state that annually receives requested aviation support. Without this opportunity, most cadets would never experience air operations until they were commissioned.”

Students and staff are welcome to watch the field training at the SRC Fields, Travis said.

According to the Go Army ROTC website, all cadets participate in outdoor training activities about once a month. These activities involve skills that are best learned outside of a classroom, like terrain walks to improve land navigation, squad tactics and survival training.

“Our intent for this field training exercise is for our freshman and sophomore cadets to enhance the retention of basic soldier skills, build camaraderie, leadership capabilities and confidence through physically and mentally challenging team events,” Travis said.

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“Some of the activities that our cadets will take place in include day and night land navigation, air assault operations, Field Leadership Reaction Course and a confidence course,” he said.

Mason Young, a junior majoring in history and a staff member of the Batallion, said the flights will teach cadets how to work as a team.

“I think it’s a good thing that we are doing this right now,” Young said. “It’ll bring the younger cadets closer together, while teaching them important leadership skills.”

For information on the training and professional opportunities provided by the ROTC program, contact Daniel Gronke at (205) 348-5917 or [email protected].

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