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Lander ROTC Students in Rare Training Exercise with Black Hawk Helicopters

Lander University ROTC cadet Daisy Garcia, of Laurens, takes part in training exercises as a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter hovers overhead. The Lander cadets were joined by their peers from Presbyterian College and Newberry College during the rare training exercise with two Black Hawks from McEntire Joint National Guard Base. Photos by Deb Nygro and Laura Brown.

Two 11,000-pound Black Hawk helicopters from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Hopkins touched down at Lander University today as ROTC students from Lander, Presbyterian College, Newberry College took part in joint training exercises. The three schools collectively form the Scottish Highlander Battalion.

In round-robin fashion, the two Black Hawks shuttled the students to and from the three campus locations throughout the day, spending no more than five minutes on the ground each time. The cadets learned how to call for air support, transport an injured fellow soldier on a litter and go airborne.

Dale Fleming, of Greenwood, is a senior at Lander, executive officer (EXO) of the cadets for the Highlander Battalion and has served with the South Carolina National Guard since 2013. Today's training exercise was his first with a Black Hawk. "The opportunity to train with a Black Hawk helicopter is an extremely rare one, not just for ROTC students but throughout the U.S. Army," he explained. "This was a great experience, and one that I would highly recommend."

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