US KFOR Soldiers practice aerial gunnery

ACH

Story and photos by Sgt. Joshua Dodds, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

Staff Sgt. Matt Singer, Simpsonville, Ky., attaches a M-240B machine gun to a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter prior to qualifying for aerial gunnery near Ramjan/Ramijane, Kosovo, during annual Soldier skill training.

RAMJANE/RAMIJAN, Kosovo – Soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East’s Aviation element took advantage of an aerial gunnery opportunity May 3-5, completing a training requirement while on a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

About 20 crew chiefs from Bravo Co., 2-147th Aviation Battalion, Kentucky National Guard, took part in the aerial gunnery qualification range, which consisted of firing an M-240B machine gun from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in various scenarios.

The scenarios ranged from firing while landing to a high speed pass while engaging targets. The coordination between pilot and gunner is part of the challenge provided by this annual event.  The Flight Instructors created  tactical scenarios that included current Tactics, Techniques and Procedures learned from military operations around the globe.

The pilots get a chance to log challenging, tactical flight time, while the crew chiefs qualify on the weapons. The entire crew benefits from the training, especially as it relates to aircrew coordination.

Sgt. David Martin, Bardstown, Ky., engages targets during annual qualification at a range near Ramjane/Ramijan, Kosovo.

“It went pretty smooth,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Radford, a UH-60 pilot from Burlington, Ky. “These guys are getting familiar with the calls and knowing when to clear the weapon.  The quicker we can get these newer guys trained on how the whole system works the better they will be when deployed in the future.”

Multinational Battle Group East is a U.S.- led unit, commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This Battle Group is comprised of nearly 1,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR (Polish/Ukraine) and Turkey.  The charter mission of MNBG-E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo.

Please contact the MNBG E Public Affairs office for media engagements or to follow-up on this information.

For high resolution photos relating to this news release, go to our Flickr site at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kfor/sets/72157623879225517/

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