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    Air Cav partners with Sky Soldiers, test new concept at JWA

    Air Cav conducts innovative training with ‘Sky Soldiers’ at JWA

    Photo By Sgt. Gregory Summers | “Sky Soldiers” of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Gregory Summers 

    22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    HOHENFELS, Germany – As the sun set on another spring evening in the training area at Hohenfels, Germany, the sound of turbine engines roaring and rotor blades chopping through the air took over the calm of the night as Troopers of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, had begun to go to work.

    Soldiers and flight crews throughout the 1st ACB partnered with “Sky Soldiers” of 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, to train and conduct an air assault and infiltration exercise inside Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, in the late hours of April 23, 2018.

    The night assault, with the objective to secure an airfield to integrate vehicles into an airborne infantry formation, was part of the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command’s (JMC) Joint Warfighting Assessment (JWA) 18.

    JWA is a training event designed for Soldiers to operate realistically and test new concepts and capabilities required for the Joint Force to win across multiple environments.

    “We are conducting a battalion-sized air assault and providing aviation support to 1st Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade while they test a new vehicle concept,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Surrey, commander of the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB and aviation task force for JWA.

    “The exercise is complex and part of a much larger combined arms training event for JWA, but we are inserting these Paratroopers deep into enemy territory at multiple landing zones with an equal opposing force present,” added Surrey, about the training scenario.

    Four CH-47 Chinook and four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter flight crews transported and inserted nearly 300 Soldiers into the training area. Additionally, four AH-64 Apache helicopter crews provided security and attack aviation support during the infiltration.

    “It’s all about speed, surprise and operational reach,” Surrey said. “That’s what we provide to our ground forces.”

    The assault mission tested both units’ capabilities, challenged them with new operational concepts and stressed the importance of a decisive action, force-on-force environment.

    Maj. Chris Zagursky, the executive officer for 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Reg., said the key focus of the event was to integrate vehicles into a light infantry formation.

    “The purpose of this exercise is to test an emerging concept that could be used in the future and in combat with a peer adversary where we could conduct a joint forcible entry into contested terrain,” Zagursky explained. “1st ACB provides us the ability to get deep into enemy territory with lift and attack assets before we seize and maneuver with vehicles on the ground.”

    In most situations, the “Sky Soldiers” would parachute in to conduct their operations, but 1st ACB allowed the operational flexibility to replace the airborne drop with an air assault to validate the future concepts.

    “We inserted them into multiple landing zones to allow them to isolate and secure the airfield,” said Capt. Eric Murphy, the assistant operations officer for 3rd AHB. “This allowed them to conduct air-land operations to allow their vehicles, the new concept being tested, to come in and be utilized as an advantage against the enemy.”

    After the infiltration was complete, ground forces continued to seize and secure territory while using vehicles to maneuver and defeat the enemy.

    From planning to execution, the units worked together to complete the mission and strengthened their relationships along the way.

    “Planning and training with 1st ACB has been a privilege,” Zagursky said. “We have learned a tremendous amount from working with them and look forward to working together again in the future.”

    Those feelings were mutual.

    “Building partnerships with our ground force brothers and sisters is a great opportunity for us,” said Murphy. “It’s great to get out here and train with a skilled ground force while testing some new concepts for ourselves.”



    Date Taken: 04.24.2018
    Date Posted: 04.24.2018 18:20
    Story ID: 274330
    Location: HOHENFELS, DE 
    Hometown: VICENZA, IT
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