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News | March 11, 2020

Flying Freight Trains

By Airman 1st Class Sarah Dowe 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – The air around the Soldiers is filled with the whirring noise of the helicopter rotors spinning as the blades cut through the air, keeping the helicopter aloft.

More than 25 Soldiers with the 359 Transportation Company were transported in a CH-47 Chinook to Wilcox, Virginia to begin their simulated in-country training.

According to U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jesse Bander, 159th General Support Aviation Brigade, 244th Bravo Company, transporting Soldiers is a routine mission, but moving cargo is the unit’s bread and butter.

The pilots and crew of the 159th General Support Aviation Battalion 244th Bravo Company at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, transport personnel and cargo to trainings, combat missions and humanitarian efforts.

A well-trained crew can unload an entire Chinook within 13 seconds. Members of the 244th Bravo Company conduct flights on a regular basis to practice this and other skills necessary in case of a hostile environment.

“We support local units and work with Special Forces at nearby bases,” said Capt. Cory Moylan, 159th GSAB, 244th Bravo Company commander. “We work with personnel from almost every organization along the east coast.”

The 244th Bravo Company is a Reserve unit, meaning members have careers outside of the military where they work full-time when it is not a drill weekend. Moylan works as an air traffic controller and Bander works for the Virginia Department of Forestry, both positions providing time away from flying while learning from other experiences.

“Our crew is really close, we are like a big family and have a great time working together,” Bander said. “We pride ourselves on being professionals, getting the mission done and taking care of our members.”

The 159th GSAB 244th Bravo Company works with Delta Company to perform maintenance so the helicopters can remain combat-ready. The history of this unit goes back almost 60 years to when it first earned a special call-sign.

The 244th Bravo Company was dubbed “Freight Train” in honor of the first 244th Bravo Company that served in Vietnam.

Current members have conducted flyovers for the return of service members’ remains found in Vietnam, making connections with original unit members along the way.

“After the flyover some of our members got to talk to individuals who were in the first 159th GSAB 244th Bravo Company unit and they wanted us to take the call-sign ‘Freight Train’ again,” said Moylan. “We have kept the name and we still stay in contact with some of the original members.”

In the future, the 244th Bravo Company will remain mission ready, continue to carry on the legacy set by Freight Train’s first members, provide support to troops and countless other mission requirements.

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Four Airmen from the JBLE Honor Guard have been awarded the United States Air Force Achievement Medal for their dedication and professionalism. The Airmen were part of the military funeral honors for eight of the nine Puerto Rico National Guardsmen who were killed in a May 2, 2018 aircraft mishap.

“I enlisted into the military, into the United States Air Force, to represent something bigger than myself. Honor Guard, in my opinion, is the best way for me to do something bigger than myself,” U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Christopher Clement, 633rd Communications Squadron communications specialist said. 

To read more about their story:
❓This #TriviaTuesday, we're bringing you a NEW challenge: #NameTheAircraft! Stay tuned for the answer in the comments at noon! ❓

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command U.S. Army 128th Aviation Brigade
JBLE Honor Guardsmen reflect on their time in Puerto Rico
This Airman’s bravery has definitely withstood the test of time! Well done sir, and thank you for your service! 🏊🏼‍♂️

Who taught YOU how to be brave? Share below! 

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