Joe Midgley

CANCELED: Black Hawk helicopters airlifting KU cadets in training exercise

Wed, 03/07/2018

Updated 3:20 p.m. March 7: The A CO, 1-108th Aviation Regiment of the Kansas Army National Guard has been redirected to help contain the wildfires in Ellis County. The airlift event will not be rescheduled this spring.

LAWRENCE — On Thursday, March 8, 100 Army ROTC cadets from the University of Kansas Jayhawk Battalion will be flown from Shenk Sports Complex to Fort Riley to conduct the annual spring field training exercise (FTX).

Two UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters will land and take off from the Shenk Sports Complex, Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway. The aircrafts and aircrews are service members assigned to A CO, 1-108th Aviation Regiment of the Kansas Army National Guard.

“Our Spring FTX is one of the most important training events every academic year. The focus of the exercise is to strengthen our cadets’ confidence and leadership skills, build their comradery and teamwork, and allow them to apply what they've learned in their military science classes to the rigors of a field training environment. Additionally, our cadets are very excited about the experience of flying in Army helicopters. This is the first time for most of them," said Lt. Col. Tracey Olson, KU Army ROTC professor of military science. "We want our cadets to see the various Army capabilities our military offers. Opportunities like this will help shape their opinions as they decide on their future military career paths."

The cadets will march from KU’s Military Science Building to Shenk Sports Complex. The Black Hawk helicopters are expected to land at approximately 1 p.m. After landing, they will power down to allow our cadets a view of the aircraft and to receive an aircraft safety briefing on how to properly load and unload the helicopters.

The Black Hawks will transport cadets in two groups to Fort Riley; flights will depart at approximately 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. 

The public and members of the media can view the aircrafts and cadets from two locations: adjacent to Parking Lot 218 (south side Shenk Sports Complex) or adjacent to Parking Lot 301 (north side of the sports complex). Both locations can be accessed via the intersection of Crestline Drive and Clinton Parkway. For their safety, visitors must stay off the field itself.

The KU Army ROTC program is home to not only KU cadets, but also to cadets from Washburn University, the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Baker University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Johnson County Community College and Kansas City, Kansas Community College.

KU is one of only 37 U.S. universities that offers ROTC programs representing all branches of the military – Army, Air Force and Naval ROTC programs.

For one KU senior, the sight of a few thousand fired-up students tearing into his hard work isn’t a nightmare — it’…

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