Monday, February 08, 2016

More than 70 soldiers and four U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters, from 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), supported units from the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the Royal Danish Army during Operation White Sword at the Oksbøl Training Area on the western coast of Denmark recently.

Operation White Sword is a force-on -force exercise with more than 1,000 participants from Denmark and the United Kingdom aimed at building interoperability between NATO combat arms maneuver elements.

The exercise culminates in a combined-arms, live-fire event, which synchronizes armor, field artillery, and rotary wing aviation assets in a unified land operations scenario.

"We laid out our training objectives and the Danish really ran with the idea of using us as a maneuver element on the battlefield," said 1st Lt. Kyle M. Amonson, the flight platoon leader with 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, 1-3 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB).

Adding, "We essentially became the third tank platoon."

Bravo Company 1-3 ARB, the "Warlords," executed three days of deliberate live-fire operations against a simulated beach landing.

The AH-64’s also conducted route reconnaissance ahead of the armored columns and practiced bounding alongside the Danish Leopard 2 tanks.

"This is the first time we have used the [AH-64] as a maneuver element on a brigade level exercise," said Capt. Morten Gregersen, the Royal Danish Army’s 2nd Brigade joint fires officer.

He noted, "It’s an entirely new thing for us."

Members of Bravo Company divided into mission planning cells and fully integrated into the Danish operations order process.

They conducted a full air mission brief to the ground force commander before each mission.

"This exercise was a culmination of our training and a proof of concept for us," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher Moore, an instructor pilot from Bravo Company, 1-3 ARB.

"It worked seamlessly with a company commander controlling us from the ground."

The 12th CAB trains and conducts aviation operations throughout the range of military operation in support of U.S. Army Europe, U.S. European Command, NATO, and in support of U.S. Central Command and U.S. African Command and other contingency locations around the globe.


Sgt. Thomas Mort

12th Combat Aviation Battalion