• An AH-64D Apache Longbow crew from the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, prepares for a mission from Contingency Operating Base Delta. The Apache's are now serving as a recon tool for U.S. and Iraqi Forces on the ground as the pilots' mission transitions from close air support to more of a reconnaissance role.

    Apaches take less aggressive role in Iraq

    An AH-64D Apache Longbow crew from the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, prepares for a mission from Contingency Operating Base Delta. The Apache's are now serving as a recon tool for U.S. and Iraqi Forces on the ground as...

  • An AH-64D Apache Longbow crew from the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, tests out the front camera of their helicopter before taking off on a mission from Contingency Operating Base Delta, Feb. 18, 2010. The Apache's cameras are now serving as a recon tool for U.S. and Iraqi Forces on the ground as the pilots' mission transitions from close air support to more of a reconnaissance role.

    Apaches take less aggressive role in Iraq

    An AH-64D Apache Longbow crew from the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, tests out the front camera of their helicopter before taking off on a mission from Contingency Operating Base Delta, Feb. 18, 2010. The Apache's...

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE DELATA, Iraq -- As the role of U.S. forces turns from a kinetic, action-oriented posture to a supporting role for the Iraqi Army and Police, unit missions must also adapt to the changes.

For the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, from Morrisville, N.C., this means turning their advanced capabilities from shooting to observing.

The AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter, a staple of the 1st ARB, is now turning its advanced cameras and maneuverability to providing another view from the air for U.S. and Iraqi ground forces.

Though still able to engage targets, pilots are finding their missions becoming less visible, said 1st Lt. Chris Miller, commander, Company C, 1st ARB.

"As we're withdrawing from Iraq and putting more responsibility on the security forces of Iraq, the Apaches are performing less of an attack role and more of a recon role," said Miller. "Again, we're the attack recon battalion, but as of now most of our missions are recon."

Miller, a native of Caysville, Utah, said that the Apache pilots communicate with Iraqi forces through the U.S. forces on the ground. With the upcoming elections, this communication becomes even more necessary to keeping track of potential threats and security issues.

"As the elections come closer, obviously security is going to become more and more important," Miller said. "Violence will be increasing, so the Apaches will be in the air more, covering larger areas for longer periods of time."

With the reduction of the U.S. combat role in Iraq, Miller said that the advice he would give any unit that comes after him is to be flexible.

"Every day we got two-to-three mission sets where we're called to fly," he said. "And almost every day we're called off to do something else. If an IED detonates, we could be called to support in that area. If a FOB [Forward Operating Base] gets attacked, we'll fly there to look at the sites. Flexibility is the most important thing we can use in mission planning."

Page last updated Thu February 25th, 2010 at 10:32