Soldiers Prepare Georgian Troops for Afghanistan Deployment


The continuous dramatic thumping of the HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter’s rotor blades announced the arrival of help from above as the 4th Infantry Division’s 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion conducted a series of aviation and medical evacuation training exercises here in support of the Georgian military and Operation Atlantic Resolve, Aug. 21.

Army Sgt. Rodolfo Echeverria, left, a flight medic with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, directs U.S. and Georgian soldiers during a medical evacuation training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 21, 2018. Army photo by Pfc. Matthew J. Marcellus
Army Sgt. Rodolfo Echeverria, left, a flight medic with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, directs U.S. and Georgian soldiers during a medical evacuation training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 21, 2018. Army photo by Pfc. Matthew J. Marcellus
Army Sgt. Rodolfo Echeverria, left, a flight medic with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, directs U.S. and Georgian soldiers during a medical evacuation training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 21, 2018. Army photo by Pfc. Matthew J. Marcellus
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Army Sgt. Rodolfo Echeverria, left, a flight medic with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, directs U.S. and Georgian soldiers during a medical evacuation training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 21, 2018. Army photo by Pfc. Matthew J. Marcellus

“We’re out here supporting Georgian troops who are being trained by U.S. Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers, and are getting ready for deployment,” said Army Sgt. Rodolfo Echeverria, a flight medic with Charlie Company C, 2nd GSAB. “Out here in the field, they’re running through company- and platoon-level training lanes, and we’re also doing medical evacuation so that they have some training with the helicopters.”

The 2nd GSAB has been conducting the joint exercises since Aug. 19, and has focused on training designed to simulate combat scenarios.

“It’s important for the Georgians to know how to respond and work with U.S. medevac assets,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Martin, a pilot with the 2nd GSAB. “When they deploy, they will know how to evacuate their wounded.”

Preparing for Deployment

The Georgian military is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, where it is crucial that they are able to communicate and work with medical assets in a timely, safe and efficient manner.

“They‘ll know some more about how the process works and how to approach the aircraft safely,” Echeverria said. “If they have to call in a medical evacuation, I feel like they’re pretty well prepared now.”

Training such as this further builds relationships between the U.S. Army and its Georgian partners, the soldiers said.

“This fosters a good spirit, they know that they can rely on us,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michelle Huang, a pilot in command for the training mission with the 2nd GSAB. “They can call us, and we’ll come to get them.”

The exercises are multifaceted and are necessary training for both the 2nd GSAB as well as the Georgian military.

“It’s imperative that we get out here to conduct this type of training,” Martin said. “We are not able to do realistic training unless there is a ground piece as well.”

Joint training between the U.S. Army and its European allies ensures the readiness, agility and lethality of coalition forces, Huang said.

“The more that we can train with our coalition forces here, before they enter combat, the better,” she said. “We’ll have better camaraderie and a stronger working relationship with our allies.”