Ear protection and field food service do not often go along with unit Family fun days. But for the Wolfpack Families of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, these were just part of the experience.
With so much training done away from home recently, the 1st Bn., 82nd CAB could not resist the opportunity to show their Families the unit’s capabilities.
The Wolfpack Battalion bussed loved ones out to the Fort Bragg training grounds to experience the hard work and excitement that goes into the aerial gunnery range where the AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots qualify on the aircraft’s weapons systems, Nov. 2.
“Our Family members are already so, so supportive, but they rarely get an opportunity to come out and see what we do. When we leave, they know that their loved ones are going out to fight our nation’s war and put their lives on the line, but they’ve never actually seen what we do,” said Lt. Col. William Gallaway, 1st Bn., 82nd CAB commander. “Events like this bring everybody closer together.”
The battalion showed their children and spouses the inside of the cockpit, how they fuel the helicopter and the different ammunition they use. Of course, they did not forget to throw in a live demonstration of the Apache firing rockets and 30 mm rounds.
“We have one Family here who was able to see their husband and father shoot at the range today,” Gallaway said. “It’s a great opportunity for our Family members to see what their troopers do in the aircraft.”
The day was also a chance for Soldiers who do not always work around the aircraft to see how the aerial gunnery range operates.
“Anytime we can show our Soldiers, who work in support roles, what we do out here, it helps them see what they are helping to make happen. Knowing that, gives them more motivation,” said 1st Bn. Command Sergeant Major Ronald Evans.
Spc. Rian Hopkins, a generator mechanic with the battalion, attended the event with his Family.
“I’ve never been able to see the Apache pilots qualifying at the Fort Bragg ranges. This gives me a better idea of how what I do plays into the larger picture,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins’ wife Kacy also appreciated the outing.
“This was a lot different than what we normally do for battalion Family days, but it was really awesome. It helps me understand what the unit does,” said Kacy.
Naturally, a unit Family day isn’t complete unless everyone leaves with a full stomach. There were no hot dogs, hamburgers or chips for lunch, however. Troopers dished out a hot meal to the group from green Army mermite containers in the food service tent.
“Echo Company is out here serving us meals. If we didn’t have food service on station, we’d have some dissatisfied troopers on our hands. They are part of the total success of our operation,” Evans said.
That support has helped the Wolpack troopers stay satisfied through many of the training events that have recently taken them away from home, including an entire month spent at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
“Being a Family-oriented organization, we wanted to find a way to work our Family members into this training since we are at Fort Bragg and we take them away from Fort Bragg so much,” Evans said. “We thought that this was a good opportunity to show our Family members what we do.”