25th CAB Prepares for Deployment Later This Year, Demonstrates Proficiency

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By Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. and Sgt. Mike Alberts

25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

A UH 60A Blackhawk helicopter from C Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Hammerhead, takes off in a convoy situational training exercise at East Range, near Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.
A UH60A Blackhawk helicopter from C Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Hammerhead, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), takes off during a convoy situational training exercise at East Range, near Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii. The 25th CAB conducted its Culminating Training Event spread throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – In final preparation for their deployment to Iraq later his year, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted their comprehensive Culminating Training Event that took place throughout the Hawaiian Islands and at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Calif., April 25 through May 3.

Soldiers from each of the 25th CAB’s battalions were joined by key leaders from the 3rd Infantry Division and 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, an attack/ reconnaissance battalion, throughout the CTE. Marines from Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regt., also took part with United States Army, Pacific (USARPAC) providing Observer-Controllers (OCs) to assist with training oversight. Additional OC coverage came from the Joint Multi-National Readiness Center (JMRC) from Germany, I-Corps based in Fort Lewis, Wash., and the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

An OH 58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter, from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Lightning Horse, takes off after re arming and re fueling from the back of a CH 47D Chinook helicopter during overwater gunnery at Barking Sands, Kauai.
An OH58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter, from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Lightning Horse, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), takes off after re-arming and re-fueling from the back of a CH-47D Chinook helicopter during overwater gunnery at Barking Sands, Kauai. The Kiowa Warriors conducted overwater gunnery during the 25th CAB’s Culminating Training Event.

In one scenario, teams of Soldiers and air assets were dispatched to recover a downed aircraft on Oahu. Simultaneously, ground elements were conducting convoy, re-supply and humanitarian missions on Kauai and the big island of Hawaii. Moments later and hundreds of miles away in California, attack helicopters were engaging enemy targets and collecting reconnaissance and surveillance information on enemy encampments.

OH 58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Lightning Horse, re arm and re fuel from the back of a CH 47D Chinook helicopter
OH58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Lightning Horse, re-arm and re-fuel from the back of a CH-47D Chinook helicopter, setup by Soldiers from E Company, and B Co., 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion.

All of this occurred over the span of just one hour and represented one of dozens of realistic combat scenarios faced by the 25th CAB during the CTE.

With units spread throughout the Hawaiian Islands and California, communication was critical in keeping the 25th CAB in step. The constant chatter of the multiple task force command posts and on-going operations was the norm in the Brigade’s bustling Tactical Operations Center.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 25th Avn. Regt., known as Task Force “Diamond Head,” composed of various elements of each of the 25th CAB’s battalions, as well as select Soldiers from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, deployed to the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) and experienced firsthand the difficulties of operating away from home station. The task force staff tackled the challenge of synchronizing operations with both higher echelon staffs and subordinate units just as they would in combat.

Marines from Combat Assault Company (CAC), 3rd Marine Regiment, stationed at Marine Corps BaseHawaii, conduct a patrol at a MOUT site on Schofield Barracks during the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade's (CAB) Culminating Training Event (CTE). The Marines of CAC conducted multiple air assault missions throughout the 25th CAB's CTE as the brigade prepares for their upcoming deployment.
Marines from Combat Assault Company (CAC), 3rd Marine Regiment, stationed at Marine Corps BaseHawaii, conduct a patrol at a MOUT site on Schofield Barracks during the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade’s (CAB) Culminating Training Event (CTE). The Marines of CAC conducted multiple air assault missions throughout the 25th CAB’s CTE as the brigade prepares for their upcoming deployment.

“The major advantage to going to PTA is that it forces us to react and perform with what we have,” explained Capt. Clayton Carpenter, assistant operations and training officer, 2-25th Avn. Regt. “What you pack up and bring with you is what you have to work with, and in that regard, it closely simulates deployment,” he said.

“Additionally, PTA is of tremendous value for us because it allows the staff to receive missions, work through their various drills, push [orders and missions] down to the companies which, in turn, work through their drills and standard operating procedures, and execute,” he continued. “The event was a success and much of that success is due to the hard work of the Task Force “Diamond Head” Soldiers.”

One of those Soldiers was Sgt. Anthony Adams, the medical noncommissioned officer-in-charge during the CTE for 2-25th Avn.

Soldiers from B Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, Lobos, recover a downed helicopter in a training exercise at Schofield Barracks.
Soldiers from B Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, Lobos, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), representing the battalion’s Downed Aircraft Recovery Team, recover a downed helicopter during a training exercise at Schofield Barracks. The exercise is part of the 25th CAB’s Culminating Training Event.

For Adams, a combat veteran, PTA was particularly important because it gave him the opportunity to train Soldiers on combat scenarios that are difficult to simulate in Garrison.

“During this training, we duplicate those high stress environments that medics face in combat, from giving [fluid intravenously] in the back of a moving vehicle to working in the dark or under noise discipline conditions,” he said. “The idea is to introduce as much stress as possible into the training. The bottom line is that as a combat medic the chances are good that you will have someone’s life in your hands. We’re constantly improving to be prepared for that reality. PTA allows us to closely simulate conditions that we simply can’t do back home,” he continued.

Marines from Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, prepare for extraction from a MOUT site.
Marines from Combat Assault Company (CAC), 3rd Marine Regiment, stationed at Marine Corps BaseHawaii, prepare for extraction from a MOUT site by B Co., 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Hammerhead, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) on Schofield Barracks during the 25th CAB Culminating Training Event (CTE). The Marines of CAC were inserted for multiple air assault missions throughout the 25th CAB’s CTE by UH-60L Blackhawks and CH-47D Chinooks.

Even while operating under the increased stress and challenging situations the brigade still managed to safely and successfully fly over 2,000 hours while conducting missions such as convoy operations, downed aircraft recovery, re-supply missions, humanitarian relief, water purification, UAV recovery, MEDEVAC, reconnaissance and surveillance, close combat attacks, MOUT training and many other combat-focused operations.

Col. Michael Lundy, commander, 25th CAB, elaborated on some of the CAB’s specific accomplishments during the CTE.

Two UH 60L Blackhawk helicopters provide suppressive fire during live fire aerial gunnery during the CAB Culminating Training Event, Hawaii.
Two UH60L Blackhawk helicopters, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Diamond Head, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), provide suppressive fire during live-fire aerial gunnery during the CAB’s Culminating Training Event, at Pohakuloa Training Area, on the big island of Hawaii. The 25th CAB conducted 669 flights resulting in over 2,200 hours of flight time.

“During the CTE, the CAB conducted over 669 flights flying over 2,200 hours,” said Lundy. “That includes over 1,965 hours of live flight time and 240 hours of virtual flying using a system called the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, or AVCATT. CTE situational training and full spectrum operations were conducted on Oahu, Kauai, NTC and PTA from April 25 through May 3. This included everything from counter IED missions to congressional delegation support.”

The goal of these complex operations was to give senior leaders a final opportunity to train, refine and validate the most current tactics, techniques and procedures as they apply in today’s operating environment in Iraq. Equally vital was the opportunity to observe Soldiers in action, correct any deficiencies and ensure unit cohesion with future unit attachments that will integrate with the 25th CAB once deployed.

“Our objective was to put leaders out there and eliminate their weaknesses,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Osvaldo Martell, battalion command sergeant major, 209th ASB.

Marines from Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, exit a CH 47D Chinook helicopter
Marines from Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, exit a CH47D Chinook helicopter from B Co., 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Hammerhead, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) at the Kawailoa Training Area during a mission as part of the 25th CAB Culminating Training Event (CTE).

“We owe that to the Soldiers, from seniors to the most junior Soldiers. It is our responsibility to train them. If leaders don’t know, they won’t be able to train their junior Soldiers. So I think everybody learned where they can improve.”

With the CTE complete, the senior leaders of the 25th CAB can take the lessons learned from the CTE and use them to continue improving operating procedures right up until the unit’s scheduled rotation to Iraq. Understanding this point, the “Wings of Lightning” Brigade commander appreciated the effort from the brigade and all of the supporting elements during the exercise.

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Personnel Recovery Team, Archangels, recover a downed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during a situational training exercise in CAB Culminating Training Event.
Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade’s (CAB) Personnel Recovery Team (PRT), Archangels, recover a downed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during a situational training exercise as part of the CAB’s Culminating Training Event. The UAV and PRT were extracted on a CH47D Chinook Helicopter from B Co. Hill Climbers, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, the 25th CAB’s Hammerhead Battalion.

“I’d like to thank all of the OC’s and their support from the BCTP, JMRC, I-Corps and USARPAC, as well as the subject matter experts from 10th CAB and Task Force ODIN, who provided invaluable feedback at the brigade and task force level on battle command, maneuver, sustainment and intelligence operations,” said Lundy. “We also received tremendous support from the 3rd ID staff, BCTC, DPTMS, USARPAC, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry BCT, 25th ID, 45th Sustainment Brigade and MARFORPAC, in both the development and execution of the CTE. This exercise was instrumental in our pre-deployment operations as it provided the necessary stress across the brigade to continue to improve all of our systems, processes and TTPs.”

By Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. and Sgt. Mike Alberts

Military Friends of NewsBlaze originated these stories, sending them directly to us from Iraq, some from Afghanistan and some in the USA.