BARRIGADA, Guam - An unusual meeting took place a few miles off the coast of Guam Sept. 28, as a U.S. Army UH-72 Lakota Helicopter approached a U.S. Navy Mark VI Patrol Boat. It was the first such meeting between the Guam Army National Guard’s Detachment 2, Delta Company, 1-224th Aviation Regiment and the Navy’s Bravo Company, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 4.
“It’s a great opportunity to interop with the Army,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Derrick Cox of MSRON-4. “It’s more toward what the Navy wants to get after, which is being able to force integrate with different services.”
The training mission simulated a hoisted casualty evacuation from the boat to the helicopter. During the initial phase, crews from both vessels learned to communicate effectively, synchronize direction and speed, and identified team roles for hoist operations. Later phases will include live hoists and more advanced scenarios.
“One of the big things we learned is our visual cues while flying,” said 1st Lt. Hayden Hayner, Guam Guard Lakota pilot. “You can’t really use the water because it’s moving around, so we learned to use different points on the boat and how to coordinate with the boat.”
Joint training opportunities, increased interoperability, and strengthening relationships with regional partners are priorities for both the Guam National Guard and Joint Region Marianas, and are enabled by Guam’s highly joint environment. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Guam National Guard and various reserve units, and U.S. Coast Guard are all represented on the approximately 200-square-mile island.
“They were super professional, with 100 percent cooperation all around,” said Hayner. “They were excited to work with us, and we were excited to work with them. And now that we’ve completed the training, we look forward to working with them more often.”