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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2017

Soldiers conduct sling-load exercise off causeway

By Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Army Soldiers from the 331st Transportation Company, 11th Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, conducted sling-load operations on the James River as part of a field training exercise involving land, sea and air capabilities, Feb. 15 through 16, 2017.

The exercise tested the unit’s ability to move vehicles from one land area to another using a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and LCM-8, Mike-boats. The sling-load capability is often used to deliver supplies or equipment to difficult terrain or hostile environments, such as with humanitarian missions or global disasters.

“The 331st Trans. Co. is the only causeway company in the Army and we are the base that is able to perform this type of sling-load exercise,” U.S. Army 1st Lt. Robert Sypole, 331st Trans. Co., 11th Btn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) floating causeway platoon leader. “We are able to provide support anywhere for any type of real-world scenario.”

Multiple units were involved in the exercise, such as the 1098th Medium Boat Company which supplied the LCM-8 Mike boats and the 5th Btn., 159th Aviation Regiment which supplied the helicopter. Sypole said the land and sea units regularly work together, however this was the first time that all three units, land, sea and air, have performed an exercise together.

In a combined effort, the 331st Trans. Co. Soldiers worked together to efficiently train for a real-world scenario and showed their skills as the only floating causeway team in the U.S. Army.

“I think this exercise benefits the Army as a whole because the aviation asset is a very quick way to move cargo from one point to an unknown location or a hostile environment,” U.S. Army Spc. Nicholas De Sa, 331st Trans. Co., 11th Btn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) watercraft operator. “The air component gets here really fast and drops off compared to having to move cargo off a ship. We can move equipment or cargo quickly and efficiently.”

The units have plans to continue joint field training exercises in the future to further ensure joint mission success at JBLE.