Fort Bragg has done something that has never been done in the Army.
On March 23, Soldiers of the DeGlopper Air Assault School and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division joined forces to sling load an MRZR, or all-terrain vehicle, at Flight Strip 2, off McArthur Road.
“The MRZR is a relatively new piece of equipment that is going to increasingly be fielded across the force. Sling loading the MRZR gives options to commanders when making decisions,” said Capt. Jonathan Hicks, commander, DeGlopper AAS. “What we have done is develop the configuration that the MRZR can safely be lifted by a UH-60M …,” he said.
The ability to sling load an MRZR accomplishes two things for the Army — it expands lodgment and increases the ground force area of operations, explained Hicks.
Indeed, the MRZR, developed by Polaris, gives the Army more mobility options on the ground.
As commander of Co. C, 2nd Bn., 2nd Aviation Regiment, 82nd CAB, Capt. Joel Castro understands the importance of elevating sling load capabilities for Soldiers on the ground.
“Our company’s number one duty is to supply the ground force as it is evolving — utilizing new vehicles — we need to adapt in how we support them,” said Castro, a nine-year Army veteran.
Pfc. Amanda Wohlmaker, a Soldier assigned to DeGlopper AAS, was one of several air assault school Soldiers who participated in the training. She said she also understands the importance of the training.
“This gives us a better, hands-on idea of what we’re going to be doing with air assault operations in the future,” Wohlmaker said.
Soldiers had to ensure provisions were made to hold the weight of the MZRZ, as well as master controlling its balance under the aircraft, explained Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Bronson, chief instructor, DeGlopper AAS. The ATV typically weighs more than 1,800 pounds.
The training was successful in demonstrating both the capabilities of 82nd CAB and usefulness of equipment by ground forces, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Null, a CAB pilot.
“This allows commanders to project their combat power further and faster and give more options,” he said.
Fort Bragg’s knowledge will be shared Army-wide.
“We will capture the concepts and rigging procedures and share the solution with Fort Bragg and the rest of the Army,” Hicks said.