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Cadets from Virginia Tech and Radford University Army ROTC deployed to their spring field training exercise in late April aboard Virginia National Guard Blackhawk helicopters flown by Richmond’s 2-224th Aviation Battalion.  For the flight crews, these were training flights. For the cadets, it was thrilling.

Cadets were flown from the Virginia Tech campus to the site of their training exercise at Radford Army Ammunition Plant's New River Unit in Dublin, Virginia.  The helicopters made trips all morning and into the early afternoon transporting cadets, and providing most with their first experience in an Army aircraft or a helicopter of any sort.

On the ground, ROTC cadre members supervised the unloading and loading of cadets safely and quickly making the most of the flight time available. Once they landed at the New River Unit, the cadets trained using infantry tactics to develop leadership skills, and prepare themselves for commissioning as second lieutenants in the United States Army.  In groups of 35, the cadets practiced small unit maneuvers and trained on land navigation while being assessed in their leadership competencies and attributes.

Photos and video by Olivia Coleman, Dan Mirolli, and Erin Williams
Text by Brian Francis, Virginia Tech Army ROTC

Cadets lay in front of a helicopter
Cadets sit in a helicopter
Cadets sit in a helicopter.
Helicopters fly over campus
Cadets board a helicopter.
Cadets board a helicopter.