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    The Chinook air crew de-rig the sandbag load (Photo credit: Able Seaman Elizabeth Ross, Garrison Imaging)

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    On May 2, a Landing Zone Controller from the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2 RCHA) signals the Chinook pilots to land in Horton Township, (Photo credit: Able Seaman Elizabeth Ross, Garrison Imaging)

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    Personnel from 2 RCHA unload the sandbags for distribution. (Photo credit: Able Seaman Elizabeth Ross, Garrison Imaging)



450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron lends a hand

By Master Corporal
Robin Marlow
Loadmaster, 450 THS

Posted on Thursday May 16, 2019

On the morning of May 2nd 2019, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) made a request to have 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) move just under 1000 sandbags from Garrison Petawawa to 2 CMBG personnel waiting in Horton, Ontario.

Starting at approximately 0900hrs, the squadron prepared an aircraft and a crew, most of whom had just returned from operations in Africa and now were flying over the swollen Ottawa River.

By 1230hrs, rotors were turning on West Ramp and the aircraft was hovering above the crew from 2 Service Battalion to pick up the first two bundles, in an operation called Helicopter Underslung Operations (HUSO). By 1630hrs, six bundles totalling approximately 950 sandbags were delivered and the aircraft was shut down.

HUSO loads, which are rigged and connected to the underside of a helicopter, are often used on operations as an expedient method of transporting large amounts of equipment or even vehicles. It allows a more versatile operational capability as important equipment and materials can be delivered to remote drop sites unsuitable for the helicopter to land in.

“Realistic training is a fundamental part of keeping our skills sharp, so naturally we were eager to support the Brigade’s request to deliver these sandbags.” noted Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Coakwell, Commanding Officer of 450 THS. “It not only offered a valuable training opportunity for our aircrew, but also the HUSO personnel building the pallets and rigging the loads. We were just glad to put this training to such great use.”