News: First rotational ARS comes in South Korea
Story by Cpl. Sang-cheol Lee
BUSAN, South Korea – The 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, started their nine-month operation with 380 soldiers and 30 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters in South Korea as the first Rotational Forces Attack Reconnaissance Squadron sent to Korea Oct. 1.
The first rotational ARS, 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, from Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., completed deployment with their equipment to Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and rejoined the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. The unit will return to JBLM upon completion of its nine-month rotation, leaving the equipment in South Korea for following-on deployments.
The last air cavalry squadron and OH-58D KW helicopters deployed to Iraq in 2008 and stayed at JBLM throughout 2009-2013 supporting units at the base. The return of the squadron and its helicopters is the U.S. forces’ part of strategic plans.
The OH-58D KW helicopter is a military helicopter used for observation, utility and direct fire support. It will be primarily operated in an armed reconnaissance role in support of ground troops.
The inception of the ARS sparked the attention of the community, which led to the media coverage request from the 837th Transportation Battalion to the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. In accordance with the request, the 19th ESC invited 21 reporters from the international and local media agencies to pier 8 in Busan, Oct. 10.
The reporters had opportunities to take pictures of the OH-58D KW helicopters departing Busan for Camp Humphreys. Additionally, they received a mission briefing and opportunity to interview military officers on the operation.
Lt. Col. Christopher W. Abbott, 837th Transportation Battalion commander, gave a brief to the reporters on the operation emphasizing the strategic importance of this mission after the second set of aircrafts departed.
“The rotations will add to the defense of the Korean peninsula and improve the Army’s ability to conduct bilateral and multilateral military exercises and advisory activities,” Abbott said. “It is aimed at strengthening strategic access and reinforcing enduring relationships with our allies and partners.”
After the brief, the reporters had a second chance to take more pictures of helicopters being prepared for departure and to interview Lt. Col. Victor S. Hamilton, 2nd CAB deputy commander, and the 837th Transportation Battalion commander Abbott for further questions.
“Since the OH-58D KW helicopters have excellent reconnaissance ability and firepower, this re-arrangement will help both United States Forces-Korea and Republic of Korea Forces to eliminate the threats on the Korean Peninsula,” Hamilton said.
The reporters were satisfied with the coverage on an important military operation.
“I think it is a great opportunity for Korean civilians to see the essential military equipment since it is hard to encounter the military equipment for civilians,” said Mr. Kim Young-rok, Kookje Sinmun reporter. “This rotational operation and introduction of the OH-58D KW helicopters will supplement the reconnaissance mission of the ROK forces.”