Knight, The Real McCoy Contributor
MCCOY, Wis. ó Only days into its extended combat training (ECT),
the Missouri National Guardís 1st, 135th Attack Reconnaissance
Battalion had qualified 11 of its AH-64 Apache crews on day gunnery
and three on night gunnery.
An Apache helicopter approaches a
target at a Fort McCoy range as a trail of smoke signals the
crew has found its target. (Photo
by Rachel Knight)
the day-qualifications exercises, pilots were given 12 different
engagements for mock airfield assault missions, including attacking a
target from hovering and flying positions. The targets differ by
distance and size. The Apaches engage and deploy the 30 mm chain gun,
aerial fin rockets and simulated hellfire missiles.
going very, very well considering itís only day four of annual
training," said Lt. Col. Charlie Hausman, battalion commander.
"Thatís similar to what we did last year for the entire annual
training. We have better weather."
Apache is the Armyís primary attack helicopter used to disrupt,
delay and destroy enemy forces. Its precision weapons system can
deploy 30 mm bullets out of a chain gun, 2.75-inch aerial fin rockets,
and hellfire missiles.
attributes the smooth training exercise to the quarterly practices the
pilots and machines have gotten over the past year at Fort Leonard
September 2008, the first quarterly exercise began to help pilots and
Soldiers get the extra practice they need to familiarize themselves
with the task without the added pressure of qualifying.
are more efficient, and the equipment isnít malfunctioning and
jamming," Hausman said. "Our guns have done well."
past ECT events, the first few days were rough as the pilot, armament
and mechanic personnel spent most of the days finding and fixing
problems. With the quarterly training, most of these problems have
already been found and fixed.
the pilots in the air are the ones qualifying, they are only part of
the puzzle. Apache armaments, mechanics and many other Soldiers from
the 1st, 135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion are working just as
hard to ensure that the equipment for both flying and acquiring
targets is in proper working order and safety precautions are taken at
is a massive team effort," Hausman said. "There is not one
part of this more important than any other. If any one piece of this
puzzle didnít work, this exercise wouldnít work."
said maintenance to refuelers to headquarters staff all worked hard to
ensure the exercise is a success. The headquarters staff took time out
of their schedules to help run the range tower operations by scoring,
reading the script and making sure communication was open and received
to complete the mission.
a fantastic collective training event," Hausman concluded.
(Knight is with the
Missouri National Guard Public Affairs Office.)