For the first time in five years, 5th Aviation Regiment (5 AVN) and 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2 CAV) conducted a tactical refuelling of three M1 Abrams tanks by a CH-47 Chinook at Townsville Field Training Area.
CAPTION: A CH-47 Chinook from the 5th Aviation Regiment conducts a refuel for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s M1 Abrams main battle tank at Townsville Field Training Area. Story by Captain Joanne Leca. All photos by Lance Corporal Riley Blennerhassett.
As part of Exercise Eagle Walk, soldiers practised fuelling procedures using an expedient method known as a ‘fat cow.’
Major George Flannery, of 2 CAV, who is Officer Commanding for the tank squadron that integrated with 5 AVN elements to conduct the refuelling, said the tanks were the most protected and lethal weapon system on the battlefield, but they were “very thirsty”.
“Our land refuelling assets, such as the HX 77 trucks, can’t always go in places with rough terrain,” Major Flannery said.
“So with these capabilities working together, we know refuelling can occur anytime, anywhere.”
CAPTION: A soldier from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment conducts a refuel on the M1 Abrams main battle tank during Exercise Eagle Walk
Major Flannery said the training was critical to honing soldiering skills.
“It’s important for us to practise this method, not only to identify ways we can do it quicker and easier in the future, but also to prepare soldiers for upcoming warfighting exercises like Exercise Talisman Sabre,” he said.
“The training went very smoothly considering it was the first time these soldiers have participated in an activity like this.”
For many soldiers like 2 CAV armoured crewman Trooper Travis Brown, it was their first time being part of a tactical refuelling.
“You get to see stuff you don’t see every day,” Trooper Brown said.
“For exercises like this, it’s good for us to be in a field environment, making mistakes so we know how to fix them.
“This leads us into the next tactical exercise more prepared for what’s to come.”