News: 25th CAB joins US Navy, PRC search and rescue exercise
Story by Capt. Richard Barker
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade participated in a joint at-sea search and rescue exercise with the U.S. Navy and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army/Navy in the Pacific Ocean just south of Oahu, Hawaii, Sept. 9.
The exercise, which simulated a distress call from a vessel at sea, highlighted the ability of both nations and multiple services to cooperate and communicate at sea as they worked together to locate and recover the distressed vessel.
The PLA(N) participated in the search with the use of its two ships the Qingdao (DDG118), a Luhu-class destroyer, and the Linyi (FFG 547), a Jiangkai-class frigate, and a Chinese variant Harbin Z-9 rotary wing aircraft in conjunction with the Navy’s USS Lake Erie (CG 70; LKE) and the 25th CABs UH-60 Black Hawk.
"25th CAB was exceedingly accommodating and interested in participating in operations at sea with both U.S. and PLA navies,” said Navy Capt. John Banigan, commanding officer, USS Lake Erie (CG 70). “They proved highly proficient in complex operations and overcame what appeared insurmountable barriers in language. The culture in the air certainly transcended differences among peoples."
During the search and rescue exercise the 25th CAB searched for the distressed vessel in an assigned quadrant while maintaining communication with the variant Harbin Z-9 and taking direction from the USS Lake Erie.
“The search and rescue exercise was an added opportunity to develop our capabilities with the U.S. Navy,” said Col. Kenneth Hawley, 25th CAB commander. “Our ability to plan and execute missions with the Navy increases our ability to provide support throughout the Pacific.”
The exercise marks growing coordination between the U.S. Navy and the 25th CAB, who coordinated with the Navy this past July during deck landing qualification training.