CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (Army News Service, April 5, 2010) -- "Indirect fire" refers to the firing of a weapon without a direct line-of-sight between the weapon and its target; it's indiscriminate and it's deadly.

Eliminating this threat near Balad, Iraq, is a priority for aviation Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment "Task Force Diamond Head," 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, working in conjunction with ground force Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

Balad is located in the heart of what was once considered the power base of Saddam Hussein. According to Lt. Col. David Francis, the battalion commander and a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with 2-25th Aviation Regiment, U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces have historically been targeted by indirect fire in this area in the form of mortars and rockets since the early beginnings of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Task Force Diamond Head's aerial reaction force operations are changing historical trends.

"[ARF] operations are a platform we developed in response to the ground force commander's aggressive commitment to defeat IDF originating from communities near Balad," said Francis. "The purpose of the mission set is simple: defeat IDF and we have had a demonstrable impact in and around Balad. Since we began ARF operations, we have had record-level lows of IDF attacks."

1st Lt. Beaux Lane is Task Force Diamond Head's senior intelligence officer who conducts enemy threat analysis. According to Lane, in areas that had been receiving multiple rounds of IDF events every week, the number of attacks has decreased by more than 60 percent.

Task Force Diamond Head's ARF operations integrate aviation and ground force assets by linking pilots flying the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and flight crews with infantry Soldiers. ARF operations provide the capability of scouting, transporting, inserting and extracting Soldiers virtually anywhere on the battlefield. They also provide the capability of staying airborne with teams of Soldiers for extended periods of time. It's fluid, adaptable, unpredictable and requires highly-experienced aviation crews.

"[These ARF operations] are the most demanding, complex and dynamic mission-set that Task Force Diamond Head currently conducts," said Capt. Paul Hanson, commander and UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot, Company C, 2-25th Aviation Regiment.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16