Soldiers with Fort Carson’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, trained Thursday to load eight-wheeled 18-ton Stryker vehicles aboard the Air Force's cavernous C-5M Galaxy as airmen from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., practiced how to chaining and securing the heavy gear so it wouldn't come loose in flight. (Video by David Bitton)

If the Army is called upon to quickly defend America and its allies against threats around the globe, some Fort Carson soldiers will be better prepared to fly into the fight thanks to training at the Colorado Springs Airport.

Soldiers with Fort Carson’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, trained Thursday to load eight-wheeled 18-ton Stryker vehicles aboard the Air Force's cavernous C-5M Galaxy as airmen from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., practiced chaining and securing the heavy gear so it wouldn't come loose in flight.

This was the first time 4th Infantry Division soldiers have recently trained to load equipment in in the four-engine transport dubbed the "Aluminum Cloud." The largest aircraft the Air Force fleet, the C-5 can carry 18 Ford F-150s, said Maj. Sadat Allhassan, 4th Infantry Division’s transportation officer.

He said the training "builds confidence and that’s what we need our go-team to have, the confidence to be able to do this at any time, in response of any mission.”

Fort Carson's Chief Warrant Officer Robert Smith said the training has been great for the soldiers.

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“This training is huge note only for the Stryker units, the infantry units on the installation as well,” Smith said. "We just don’t get enough of it. This right here shows that we deserve more of this type of training."

The Army bought the Stryker vehicles in the early 2000s as an alternative to its heavier arrmored rigs including the 72-ton M-1 tank. Tanks have the be hauled to war by ship and rail, a process that can take weeks.

Since planes like the C-5 can carry several of the vehicles, Strykers can be winged into battle.

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That would allow Strykers to quickly follow parachute troops into a war zone, giving an armored punch to the likely armed airborne troops. After the paratroopers land on an enemy airfield, planes carry the Strykers could as a foot in the door for reinforcements.

Under a clear-blue sky Thursday, soldiers and airmen worked together to hone their craft.

Capt. Jeff Calico, a pilot 22nd Air Lift Squadron at Travis, said the crew of 17 aboard the Galaxy benefited from the exercise.

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“We’ve definitely learned a lot,” he said.

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