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NEWS | July 14, 2015

Army Reserve aviation unit conducts firefighting training mission

By Spc. Heather Doppke 11th Aviation Brigade

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - The Army Reserve unit, A Company, 2-238th Aviation Regiment, 11th Aviation Command conducted water bucket training in support of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) tactical air operations in Hemet, California, Feb. 10, 2015.

This training conducted in partnership with Cal Fire, allows the unit the ability to provide support in fighting wildfires. During the training, the Army Reserve UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters each carry a Cal Fire captain in flight to provide guidance and are guided by a Cal Fire helicopter, to simulate the flight routine for fire suppression.

This routine includes two UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters dipping a helicopter bucket into a reclaimed water storage pond, filling it with 1,000 gallons, flying around and dumping the water back into the pond and repeating the process.

The Soldiers also receive classroom instruction with explanations of the fire traffic area around a wildfire and how air operations and communications work, how to employ a fire protection shelter and sand table exercises, which provide a model of the operating area of the exercise.

California remains in a four-year drought, which extends firefighting operations throughout all seasons and requires the return of water used for training to the source.

The effort includes more than 20 Cal Fire employees and 12 Army Reserve Soldiers from A Company, 2-238th Aviation Regiment, which operates from Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitios, California, and is headquartered by the 11th Aviation Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky