News: CAB aviators practice live-fire air assaults
Story by Capt. Andrew Cochran
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. - Aviators assigned to the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade practiced live-fire air assaults at the Kansas National Guard’s Smokey Hill Weapons Range Sept. 27.
Four 1st Infantry Division UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, crewed by soldiers from Company C, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, were joined by troops from the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team for the exercise.
“Getting the ground force commander to the objective so that he can influence the population is critically important, especially in austere areas of operations,” Col. Mike Morgan, commander of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, said.
Four UH-60 Black Hawks from the CAB’s C Company, 3-1 Assault Helicopter Battalion combined with a platoon of soldiers from 4-4 Cavalry Squadron and two Air Force joint tactical air controllers.
The exercise was designed to allow the Big Red One soldiers an opportunity to practice hostile air assault mission planning and execution. Welcoming to Air Force joint tactical air controllers, the event also gave troops experience with joint air-ground integration missions.
“It’s important for other units to understand how to work with aviation and for us to understand how to work with units on the ground,” said 1st Lt. Steven Galbreath, a Black Hawk pilot and platoon leader in Company C.
Morgan accompanied the 3-1 AHB team during the exercise to oversee and evaluate how the training was accomplished. The commander said he was excited to watch some of his soldiers train for future operations.
“This is some great training,” he said. “Today I get to certify one of my companies and their mission command process using air assets in support of ground forces.”
Preparation for live fire air assaults is a time-intensive process not only for pilots and ground force commanders but for the air craft crew chiefs as well.
Spc. Daniel Roldfs, a crew chief and door gunner with Company C, said a lot of preparation and training went into the air assault mission, with briefings, safety checks and weapons qualifications occurring in the days and hours leading up to the event.
“We get to train as we fight,” he said. “We get to go through and make sure we are doing everything right so when we go downrange, we have got everything covered.”