EWU President Joins ROTC Cadets as They Take to the Skies Over Spokane

Spring FTX

On April 25th, 2019 the “Fighting Eagles” Cadets from the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program began their 3-day Spring Field Training Exercise (FTX).  To begin the exercise the Cadets would fly in UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the EWU campus in Cheney, Washington to Camp Seven Mile located north of Spokane.

EWU ROTC Cadets march towards Roos Field to await arrival of helicopters.

The Cheney Fire Department sprays down the landing zone prior to the arrival of the helicopters to limit the blowing of debris. 

The helicopter landing on campus was made possible by coordination between EWU ROTC, campus authorities, the EWU police department, and Cheney Fire Department.  The Blackhawk helicopters were piloted by soldiers from the Washington Army National Guard’s 96th Aviation Troop Command out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM).  They landed their helicopters in a parking lot adjacent to the iconic red turf of Roos Field, more popularly known as “The Inferno”.

UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters land on the EWU campus.

EWU ROTC “Fighting Eagles” Battalion Cadets ready to fly out to the Spring FTX.

VIPs Fly with the Fighting Eagles

Something special about this year’s flight out to the Spring FTX is that the EWU President, Dr. Mary Cullinan flew out with the Cadets to the FTX.  Joining Dr. Cullinan on the flight out was EWU Provost, Dr. Scott Gordon, and Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Dr. Jonathan Anderson.  Prominent EWU ROTC alumni, Brigadier General (retired) Neal Sealock and Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Jerry Mellick joined the university leadership on the flight out.  BG Sealock is the current Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) for Eastern Washington.

From left: LTC(R) Jerry Mellick, Dr. Scott Gordon, Dr. Mary Cullinan, Dr. Jonathan Anderson, LTC Jonathan Stafford, BG(R) Neal Sealock

The VIPs were transported in UH-72 helicopters piloted by Washington National Guard soldiers out of Fairchild Air Force Base.

UH-72 Lakota helicopters land on the EWU campus.

After receiving “cold load” training to prepare for the flight, the Cadets then began to load up into their helicopters.

Cadets board a Blackhawk helicopter.

EWU ROTC Cadets ready for action.

High Above EWU

The VIPs loaded in the UH-72 Lakota helicopters took off first and watched the Blackhawks take off with the Cadets from the air.

Blackhawk helicopters can be seen on the upper right preparing to take off near Roos Field more commonly known as “The Inferno”.

The airborne perspective provided views of areas commonly used by EWU ROTC Cadets.  For example the Palouse Hills to the west of Roos Field is a training area often used to conduct leadership labs at.

The Palouse Hills adjacent to the EWU campus.

The Cheney Waterworks is a wooded area located to the east of Cheney which is another area often used to conduct leadership labs at:

The wetlands that make up the Cheney Waterworks property.

Blackhawks take off from the EWU campus.

Eastern Washington University President, Dr. Mary Cullinan views the EWU campus from a UH-72 Lakota helicopter.

The view looking down on the center of the EWU campus.

The city of Cheney with the EWU campus located on the upper left.

Blackhawks carrying EWU ROTC Cadets fly over Cheney, Washington.

A closer look at the Blackhawks carrying Cadets from the EWU ROTC program.

Flying to Camp Seven Mile

From the EWU campus the Blackhawk helicopters followed the Lakotas towards Camp Seven Mile.  During the flight the helicopters passed over the beautiful Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and the city of Spokane, before following the Spokane River north towards Camp Seven Mile.

The beautiful wetlands of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

The helicopters approach the South Hill area of Spokane with highway 195 that runs to Pullman visible on the left.

Downtown Spokane, Washington.

EWU President Dr. Mary Cullinan flying in a UH-72 Lakota helicopter over downtown Spokane, WA.

EWU Provost, Dr. Scott Gordon pictured flying in a UH-72 Lakota over downtown Spokane, WA.

Helicopters begin to follow the Spokane River towards Camp Seven Mile. 

Flying over the Spokane River to Camp Seven Mile.

Arrival at Camp Seven Mile

After following the Spokane River north of Spokane, the helicopters soon arrived at Camp Seven Mile.  Camp Seven Mile is military property that is part of Riverside State Park.  The camp was established in 1933 to house Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.  After constructing the camp the CCC workers than began building the roads, trails, and replanting trees to create the beautiful state park seen today.  In 1942 the CCC program was ended and the land turned over to the military.  The land was used to train soldiers that deployed to World War II and the Korean War.  The old camp property continues to be used for training purposes by Reserve, National Guard, and ROTC units in the region even though it is managed as part of the Washington State Park system.

Blackhawk helicopters carrying EWU ROTC Cadets fly over Camp Seven Mile.

Blackhawk helicopters carrying EWU ROTC Cadets land at Camp Seven Mile.

Fighting Eagles Cadets unload from their Blackhawk helicopter.

Blackhawk helicopter departs from Camp Seven Mile.

Successful Operation

The ride out to Camp Seven Mile via helicopter made for a memorable first day of the Spring FTX for the Cadets of the EWU ROTC program.  The leadership from ROTC thanks all the campus authorities, EWU Police Department, Fire Department, and the 96th Aviation Troop Command for making the helicopter insertion to Camp Seven Mile possible.  We also thank Dr. Cullinan, Dr. Gordon, Dr. Anderson, BG(R) Sealock, and LTC(R) Mellick for flying out with the Cadets during the first day of the Spring FTX.  The success of our helicopter operations demonstrates the incredible community we have at Eastern that supports our ROTC program.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

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