Archive: Ft. Dix Mobilization

Arrival at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma

Due to crew rest, showtime in Phoenix was 12:30 (Mountain Standard Time). My aircraft would lead the company of eight Black Hawks to our home for the next few months, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma....

By Bert Stover | December 12, 2005; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

Flying into Phoenix

Showtime was 08:00 in El Paso the morning of Nov. 13, and most of us met downstairs in the hotel in the atrium for a complimentary full breakfast. We then left for the airport, and the Pilots in Command began haggling over the best route of flight. 13 NOV 05 - Members of A Co. tie down an aircraft and pack their rental vehicles in preparation for heading to their hotel in Phoenix, AZ. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View Enlarged Photo...

By Bert Stover | December 9, 2005; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Heading for El Paso

We gathered in the hotel lobby on Nov. 12, then headed for the airport in a short, unofficial motorcade of minivans. Somehow, all eight of our aircraft had forgotten to pay for fuel in Little Rock the day before, so Capt. Heins lectured the crews about the need to pay for our gas and assigned a fuel officer for each flight of four aircraft. We then loaded the aircraft, cranked the engines and made our way out of Dallas/Ft. Worth to our first stop in San Angelo, Tex. (KSJT), where we all noticed the incredible drop in humidity. The flatlands also provided a good breeze in the 23 degree Celsius weather. 12 NOV 05 - Two A Company Black Hawks cast shadows on the water just before landing at the San Angelo airport. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | December 8, 2005; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

A Detour Through Dallas

After seven and a half hours of flight time from Richmond to Little Rock, Capt. Heins gave us until 10:00 hours (Central Standard Time) to get up and check out of our hotel. Our crank time was 12 noon for the flight to Dallas, but after boarding the aircraft with our gear, we noticed that the Captain's aircraft was not loaded and several crew chiefs were standing around chatting about some maintenance issues. Start up was delayed for more than an hour. 11 NOV 05, Love Field (Dallas) from our aircraft at 1500 feet. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)...

By Bert Stover | December 7, 2005; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

To Little Rock, Ark.

When we arrived at the Richmond airfield on Nov. 10, we learned our next stop on the way to Yuma, Ariz. would be in Little Rock, Ark. We were able to pick up two more aircraft before departing, and took off in two flights of four, spaced 30 minutes apart. I was in the first flight. During the trip to our first fuel stop in Greensboro, N.C., my cockpit was pretty much silent. I'd expected more chatter, but for the most part, the only words spoken came from the radio as flight alerted small airports we planned to over fly. There wasn't much talk on later legs, either, as we made our way from Greensboro to Knoxville, TN (KTYS) to Nashville, TN (KBNA) to Millington, TN (KNQA) to Little Rock. 10 NOV 05, Three of the four aircraft in the first of two flights of A Co 2/224th AVN aircraft,...

By Bert Stover | November 29, 2005; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (7)

Weather Diversion Back to Richmond

We saddled up to depart Ft. Dix, N.J. for Yuma, Ariz. on Nov. 9 in two flights of four Black Hawks each. The departure airfield, Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst, was the scene of the tragic Hindenburg disaster. By the time I arrived, most of our aircraft had been taken out of the station's enormous hangars, built originally to house dirigibles like the Hindenburg. But the ones still inside looked like ants inside the towering hangars. We were two hours behind schedule getting off the ground for the first leg of our trip and were only guaranteed good enough weather to make it to Dover Air Force Base, a long way from Nashville, Tenn., where we'd intended to spend the night. 9 NOV 05, Able to house airships like the German dirigible Hindenburg, the hangars at Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst are the backdrop for the six A Co 2/224th...

By Bert Stover | November 28, 2005; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Heading For Yuma

After a final week of classes, practical exercises and weapons training at Ft. Dix, N.J., we scrambled the night before leaving for Yuma, Ariz. to amend flight plans, finish any red flag aircraft maintenance and pack. Individually, we had twice as much equipment to take care of as we had just two weeks ago. As a unit, we have twice as many flyable aircraft. We plan to take four days to travel in our Black Hawk helicopters across the country to Yuma, and it figures to be a logistical challenge. 31 OCT 05, Ft. Dix, NJ -- Soldiers of A Co 2/224th AVN conduct drills on donning their Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) masks just seconds after the alarm is sounded. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | November 18, 2005; 09:42 PM ET | Comments (55)

More Equipment...

Ft. Dix provided the unit with more individual equipment as we visited the base's Central Issue Facility (CIF) on Oct. 27. The experience was not as good as last time. I still think that the Rapid Fielding Initiative (a direct competitor) does a better overall job of issuing equipment to soldiers. 27 Oct 05, Eddie Meadows (far right behind counter), CIF A Bay Quality Control, leads A Co 2/224th AVN in singing 'America the Beautiful' during his exceptional welcoming of the unit to his facility. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | November 15, 2005; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (21)

Death By Power Point

We spent three days (Oct. 25 - 27) in academic classes -- no doubt necessary for deployment, but so tedious that we started referring to them as "Death by PowerPoint." . We covered the general orders for the Army and the Central Command (CENTCOM), basic first aid, sexual harassment, etc. All said and done, we battled the sleep monster for about eight hours of straight lectures each day. One day went to refreshing our memory on the first aid tasks the Army originally taught us in basic training. The morning was devoted to classes, the after noon to a series of practical exercises designed to test our knowledge. Hopefully, we'll never have to use what we learned. 26 Oct 05, Select members of A and B Companies take a first aid class in order to become Assistant Instructors for the first aid classes being held the next day for the...

By Bert Stover | November 9, 2005; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

Vargas Joins A Company 2/224th...

We've gotten a break from the Ft. Dix routine of classes, immunizations, issuing of equipment, etc., thanks to the assignment of SFC Vargas to A Company 2/224th. 31 Oct 05, SFC Vargas, newly assigned to A Co 2/224th, is pinned with her crew wings by her platoon sergeant and a unit pilot. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View Enlarged Photo...

By Bert Stover | November 2, 2005; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (2)

Your Tax Dollars at Work

If you are wondering where some of your tax dollars are going then I have an answer for you. We were issued brand new equipment to include some frivolous items like fleece jackets, fleece hats, and Oakley sunglasses/goggles, and some very necessary items like new ballistic helmets, lighter and with more secure chin straps. 22 OCT 05, PFC Lee has his barcode sticker placed on his chest just prior to receiving his equipment from the Rapid Fielding Initiative, Ft. Dix, NJ. Barcode stickers provide a quick way to inventory items issued to soldiers. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | November 1, 2005; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (41)

Fort Dix, Finally

After a long bus trip that began before sunrise in the drizzle in Richmond, we finally arrived at Fort Dix, N.J. around 14:15 on Friday, Oct. 21. The original plan was to fly up on our Black Hawks, but the weather was too nasty to risk having so many members of the unit on board. As soon as we arrived, before we were allowed to offload, we were introduced to the active duty Army by getting briefings on Fort Dix policies and contraband amnesty. Friday 21 OCT 05, Members of A Co 2/224th AVN ironically watch the movie 'We Were Soldiers' while riding the bus from Richmond, VA to Ft. Dix, NJ. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | October 31, 2005; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (15)

 

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