An MI-17 Hip Afghan cargo helicopter takes off during a joint mission with coalition advisers and escorts March 10. AH-64 Apache helicopters from Task Force Shooter provided escort coverage for the mission. It was the first TF Shooter aviation mission - a resupply and passenger movement to Barg-e Matal in northern Afghanistan - with the Afghan Air Force.

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, U.S. military and coalition forces have worked with Afghan National Security Forces to set conditions for transferring responsibility solely to the host nation. Task Force Shooter, a multifunctional aviation task force of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, continued the work of turning the Afghan air space over to the Afghan Air Force by supporting an AAF mission March 10.

Two AH-64D Apache helicopters flew as armed escorts with six MI-17 Hip Afghan cargo helicopters and two MI-35 Hind-E Afghan attack helicopters flown by the Afghan Air Force with British and Hungarian coalition flight advisers, to Barg-e Matal in northern Afghanistan. Barg-e Matal is an Afghan National Army compound of strategic importance that has been the scene of numerous contentious battles in recent years.

The ability to conduct partnered aviation operations to this historically volatile area demonstrates both the growth of ANSF capabilities and the increasing levels of security in the region of Nuristan, Nangarhar, Konar and Laghman provinces.

"The success of today's mission was a critical step forward in the growth of our coalition force partnership efforts," said Maj. Jaysen Yochim, operations officer for TF Shooter. "These partnered missions will ensure the preparedness of the Afghan Air Force to shoulder aviation responsibilities in areas operationally transitioned to Afghan National Security Forces."

The purpose of the mission was to ensure safe transportation of an air resupply and personnel movement to Barg-e Matal with the AAF and Air Interdiction Unit in the lead. This was the first time TF Shooter, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, has collaborated with the Afghan Air Force in a combined mission.

Before take-off, Shooter pilots met with members of the AAF, as well as their advisers, to conduct final mission preparation and coordination.

This transition of responsibility to the people of Afghanistan is not only a part of the counterinsurgency campaign but is also an attempt to develop and enhance the abilities of the Afghan military forces.

Gerohimos serves with Task Force Shooter.

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