ISF, US forces cooperate to recover downed aircraft
May 27, 2010
- U.S. and Iraqi soldiers work together to recover a downed aircraft in southern Iraq
- "They were amazing. They had vehicles, performed security and helped take care of us while there," said one U.S. Soldier
With the increase in partnership missions and training between United States Forces - Iraq and the various elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, a recent event showed just how well the ISF have developed their capabilities and how far they have progressed.
A disabled UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment, Task Force 12, was recovered Monday by a joint team of Iraqi Police from the 6th Emergency Response Unit and U.S. forces, including a Downed Aircraft Recovery Team with 412th Aviation Support Battalion, TF 12.
The helicopter made a precautionary landing Saturday afternoon northeast of Nasiriyah, Iraq, due to mechanical problems while flying its daily mission.
"We actually got the aircraft set and running that night. We had left Alpha Ramp at 11 p.m. that night to get the aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Justin Carter, the platoon sergeant for Maintenance Platoon, Co. B, 412th ASB. "There were nine people on the DART, to include the night officer-in-charge and one medic," he said.
"Upon arrival, we made an assessment of the main transmission and saw no oil leakage. We checked the fluid levels, tested everything and got it ready to fly," Carter said.
Carter's crew went out again the next morning, along with Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brock Geiger, the officer-in-charge for the morning portion of the recovery, and Lt. Col. Dan Ruiz, executive officer for 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and TF 12.
The Black Hawk was flown back to COB Adder that morning by Geiger and Ruiz, with the 6th ERU providing site security.
On arrival, they found the area secured by the ISF and the U.S. forces ready to be extracted, Ruiz said.
"I spoke to the U.S. platoon leader when we landed," Ruiz said. "He already had his Soldiers in "chalk" order awaiting approval to board the CH-47s. I told him he could depart the [landing zone] because the ISF had the security situation handled."
A few checks, and the Soldiers were on their way out.
"We pre-flighted the aircraft, ran it up, and flew it home," Ruiz said. "I felt completely safe with my Iraqi brothers securing the aircraft and the LZ."
Carter said that, when they first dropped his crew off that morning, they met up with the ISF leaders.
"They were amazing. They had vehicles, performed security and helped take care of us while there. We had nothing but a positive experience with them," Carter said. "They helped us out with everything we asked."
Col. Robert Doerer, commander, 12th CAB and TF 12, acknowledged the important contributions of all the U.S. forces involved in the recovery, but offered special recognition for the work of the Iraqi troops.
"What made this recovery operation a success was the immediate action of the 6th Emergency Response Unit to provide the security for our aviation maintenance team to repair and recover the aircraft to COB Adder," he said. "I would like to personally thank our Iraqi partners for their outstanding and professional assistance."