June 14, 2014, marked the Army's 239th birthday as well as Flag Day, however, soldiers from the 365th Engineer Company out of Cape Coral dedicated this day to a fellow soldier who fell on the battlefield.
These soldiers, along with representatives from the area's recruiting company, participated in a Helocast training exercise at Crystal Lake to honor Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, a UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief who was killed in action on March 11, 2013, when his helicopter crashed during a night time training mission near Kandahar City, Afghanistan.
"Having these Black Hawks around is a great way to show the locals here what he did for a living," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Loebs, the 365th Unit Adviser. "It's an honor being able to do an exercise and dedicate it to him, and still get the value of training for our Soldiers."
Helocast is a battlefield insertion technique used by small groups of soldiers that involves a helicopter hovering at a low altitude above a body of water which allows the soldiers to disembark the helicopter in to the water.
Many of the soldiers who participated in the training exercise are Sappers, which are specially trained combat engineers. They performed the Helocasttraining because, according to Loebs, Sappers are supposed to be ready to go anywhere in the world to perform their mission.
"Sappers are suppose to be able to be dropped into any environment and come out successful," said Loebs. "The Soldiers come out here, they learn the task, and they execute it and walk away feeling confident in their abilities."
With the help of the Cape Coral and the local agencies the training was a huge success, said 1st Sergeant Robert E. Cohn, 365th 1st Sergeant.
"This site was a really good site," said Cohn. "The city helped get us this area and the lake was perfect for what we are doing; everything went off without a hitch."
The locals living in the area also stopped by to watch the training while local police and fire departments, and Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve, were on scene to control crowds, provide medical treatment if needed, and be out on the water to assist Soldiers as they jumped the 20 feet from the Black Hawk into Crystal Lake.
With the day's training complete, the 365th feels ready to perform its mission, and with Scialdo's memory fresh on their minds the Sappers will be renaming the Cape Coral Army Reserve Training Center after Scialdo in July, according to Loebs.
As long as there is a need for combat engineers, the 365th will be ready for whatever environment they may find themselves in, they will be ready to jump into any fight, whether it's into Crystal Lake or anywhere else in the world where they are needed.