ROTC Cadets Train on Black Hawks

Black Hawk Training for Army ROTC 

By Claire M. Sherling

As the sun made its debut on a breathtakingly cold February 19th morning, so did a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, busting into view over the tree line along Washington Street and then touching down on the Marion Military Institute parade field amongst a crush of Cadets, eager to catch a glimpse of aviation excellence.

An exciting experience for the students, faculty and staff at MMI, no doubt.  But it was even more enlightening for the ROTC Cadets.   These Cadets were given a rare opportunity to do Static Load training—a training routine that familiarizes passengers with loading techniques and seatbelt operation to prepare them for a live drill.  ROTC Cadets were also given special instruction on “how Army Aviation can provide assets to ground force commanders,” said Warrant Officer Clay Parrish, who was part of the instruction team and works as an ROTC Operations and Training Officer on campus.  SPC David Golden and CPT Charles Gardner, an MMI alum and the pilot in command, along with Parrish also taught a class on the process and requirements of becoming a combat aviator for the Army.

From 7:30 in the morning until 3:30 P.M., Cadets, faculty, staff and even community members were a constant presence on the parade field despite the frigid cold.  The enormous Black Hawk with its distinct army green and massive blades that stretched across the field drew on-lookers in, especially those not in the ROTC who were not receiving training that day.  SPC Golden and the Alpha Company, 1-131 Aviation Battalion, Alabama Army National Guard team were on-site throughout the day to answer questions and highlight the incredible features of the helicopter.  “I enjoyed my visit thoroughly,” said Golden. “I’m happy to teach others [especially when] I know enough to be of use.”

The Black Hawks are scheduled to return to MMI by the end of this semester to conduct additional training with the ROTC Cadets.