Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Aug. 9, 2021

Alaska Army National Guard Completes Innovative Readiness Training for the Village of Telida

By Victoria Granado Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- An Alaska Army National Guard CH-47F Chinook helicopter from the 211th General Support Aviation Battalion transported a skid-steer loader by way of slingload, July 27, from Nikolai to Telida, two villages located in the Alaskan interior.

The movement of the skid-steer loader to the remote community of Telida was provided through the Innovative Readiness Training program. The IRT program seeks to address certain needs in America’s communities while simultaneously providing training for the U.S. military.

The skid-steer loader will be utilized in the maintenance of Telida’s runway enabling flights carrying goods and personnel to land throughout the year. However, being a nine-hour boat trip upriver from Nikolai, the village of Telida has no way of receiving large equipment over land.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Best, the pilot in command, said that it is fairly common for Chinooks to haul unconventional loads due to the versatility of the rotary-wing aircraft. Capable of slingloading up to 26,000 pounds from the center hook, the CH-47F Chinook was an ideal solution for moving the steer-skid loader to a village inaccessible by road.

“Like most missions, it’s never simple,” said Best. “In a perfect world the loader would have fit in the back of the aircraft but, it had to be slingloaded because it was too large. That added a few more logistical complications and additional personnel needed to ensure the load was situated properly.”

For a slingload the cargo is rigged to be suspended from the helicopter and flown from point A to point B, which can be over large expanses of terrain. This particular IRT mission was an opportunity for the crew to train in the attachment and transportation of a slingoad with a cargo net.

Taking into account their training and experience, the crew determined a route following the Kuskokwim river drainage in case landing with the loader would prove necessary. With a favorable tailwind, the chinook delivered its cargo in forty minutes over a distance of 35 miles.

“Aviation units are used to performing missions for other units,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Maddox, flight instructor for the Chinook crew. “It tends to be the same time and time again, but when communities have specialized missions for us to accomplish, we accept the missions to help broaden our skill set and help the community at the same time.”

Each IRT mission presents unique situations and demands that coincide with the environment in which the Guardsmen reside and the population they serve.

“I think these mission types truly do contribute to mission readiness,” said Best. “The missions are often exercises in patience, planning, and teamwork on a completely different playing field than our regular deployed mission set. This enables us to think outside the box and problem solve in an entirely different realm.”

In addition to enhancing deployment readiness, the IRT program fosters the relationships between the Guardsmen and the people of Alaska.

“As National Guardsmen, we are already an integral part of our communities,” said Best. “Here in Alaska, we just enjoy being out in the communities and doing anything we can to help.”


Like Us
Follow Us



U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...