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Cadets buckle-up for lift-off. (Doug Manifold / The Signpost)

It was a cold and rainy afternoon in Ogden as the cadets and cadre of the Weber State University Wildcat ROTC Battalion stood on the athletic field below the Social Science building, listening to the incoming roar of jet engines.

This gathering was for their military science training program, where two Sikorsky Aircraft Company UH-60 Army Black Hawk helicopters were present.

Captain Stephen Feehan, assistant professor of Military Science, said that the mission was to load cadets onto the two Black Hawk helicopters and allow them to experience the sights, sounds and feeling of riding in the UH-60s.

Each UH-60 is configured to accommodate 10 passengers and a crew of four, so it took more than three rotations of both aircraft to accommodate the nearly 60 cadets and a few of the cadre.

The UH-60s that were on-hand for this exercise are just two of the more than a dozen helicopters based at the U.S. Army National Guard facility in West Jordan, Utah.

According to First Sergeant Brock Jones of the Utah National Guard, the UH-60s that participated in the exercise at WSU were operated by the 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment.

Prior to loading-up and departing, the helicopter air crew briefed on operating and safety procedures.

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Aircrew briefing cadets prior to loading (Doug Manifold/The Signpost)

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Once a group of ten cadets had been loaded onto each of the helicopters, both of the UH-60s departed the campus for a roughly 25 minute demonstration flight up Ogden Canyon, around the east side of the mountain and back to the campus.

On his return from a flight, Cadet Nate Soriano, a WSU senior and MS-4 cadet, said that he had a “great time” and that he always enjoyed rides in the helicopters.

Cadet Brandon Allen, another WSU senior and also an MS-4 student, agreed with Soriano. Soriano is planning to become an Army Engineer after graduation while Allen is aiming for an assignment as a helicopter medevac pilot and medic.

Captain Feehan and professor of Military Science LTC Jason Nierman both said that they were very happy with the results of this training program.

Lt. Colonel Nierman thanked the Weber State University Public Safety staff for their hard work and assistance in making the exercise a success.

“The exercise could not have happened without the cooperation of the Public Safety Department and the University Administration,” Nierman said.

Nierman was also appreciative to the University for providing safe access to the Quad athletic field as the staging area for the Black Hawk helicopters.

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