Sweat rolls down the face of Staff Sgt. Minseok Choi as he evaluates his fellow crew member firing a M240H at a squad of targets out of the door of a UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter.
US Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment (2-2 AHB) participate in dual door gunnery in their semi-annual door gunnery training exercise from July 21 to 25, 2022.
“The goal of the training is to maximize combat power in order to gain currency for every crew member so we can maintain fully manned combat crews,” said Staff Sgt. Minseok Choi, the battalion standardization non-commissioned officer, 2-2 AHB. “The new guys have never touched a M240 before and certainly not from the air. Today is a perfect opportunity for them to practice, with live ammunition, aerial gunnery.”
Aerial gunnery, just like any other range, requires multiple firing tables to prepare, evaluate and certify the capabilities of the crew members and pilots.
“The aerial gunnery consists of the individual table and the collective table,” said Choi. “The crew members will train starting with a familiarization fire, move to a single ship day and night fire and then end with a multi-ship target handover engagement.”
Maintaining proficiency on door gunnery is integral to any Black Hawk operations, whether it be conducting sling loads or conducting a tactical insertion of personnel.
“We are the only defensive mechanism that the UH-60 has,” said Choi. “When we pick up or drop off personnel, we are the only defense we have to aircraft. Maintaining that proficiency is essential to keeping the enemy suppressed while we keep the aircraft and the personnel boarding safe.”
This is not your typical range, aerial gunnery requires an immense amount of team work between the pilots and the crew members.
“We’re not just a gunnery, we’re an air crew member too,” said Choi. “So we have to coordinate with the pilots doing our job as a crew member, while also shooting the gun. It will be challenging for the new crew members, but will really benefit them.”
Crew members still have to clear the aircraft of hazards and engage targets on the ground while flying.
“We’re clearing the aircraft while the pilot is flying, like their rearview camera, letting them know if it’s clear to turn left or right,” said Choi. “It’s like a having a ground guide for ground vehicles, but in the air.”
The gunnery lasted four days in the intense summer heat and monsoon rain storms. Even though the environment did not favor their success, all crew members were able to gain proficiency and certify as a combat crew.
|Date Posted:||06.26.2022 22:39|
|Location:||BISUENG RANGE, KR|
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