Six Blackhawks touched down on UA's campus as part of an ROTC training exercise. Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC
The live action training has been part of the ROTC program at Alabama for the past five years. Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC
The Blackhawsk flew ROTC students to Fort McClellan in Anniston, where they'll continue several more days of training required by the program. Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -
The University of Alabama knows plenty about touchdowns. But fewer touchdowns are more impressive than six Blackhawk helicopters touching down on the school soccer field.
"It's better than being stuck in a van driving to Fort McClellan, Alabama for two and a half hours. But more importantly, it's live," says Lt. Col. Ken Kemmerly, a professor of military science and head of the ROTC program.
This live action training has been part of the ROTC program here for the past five years.
"It's about as real without being in the active military," UA student Evan Mack said.
Mack is one of 60 students and some faculty members taking part in the program. Part of Mack's job included coming up with some of the planning for Friday's mission.
"Here in a couple of weeks I'll be a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and I'll do this stuff all the time. It'll be a sweet, sweet training opportunity," Mack said.
That's why Kemmerly believes this isn't a joyride.
"Plan how he or she is going to move 50 or 60 soldiers with all their equipment from one point to another safely," he said.
Although, he admits students are flying in a tight space.
"A Chinook for a soldier is like riding in a Cadillac. A Blackhawk is more like riding in a Ford Focus," Kemmerly said.
Once the ROTC students touchdown in Fort McClellan, Anniston, they'll continue several more days of training required by the ROTC program.