By Sgt. Justin GeigerJuly 25, 2017
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania - Aviators with the 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, completed their two-day mission after flying fifteen UH-60 Black Hawks from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, into Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, July 24-25, 2017.
Working with each countries Embassy, several air traffic control agencies, customs and their Allied counterparts, coordinating the flights for seven Black Hawks on day one, and the remaindering eight the following day facilitated the movement between both countries, which made each trip a success.
"I contributed to the planning process from Bulgaria to Romania," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Truman, Pilot, Bravo Company, 2-10 AHB. "We worked with different coordinating agencies to make sure each flight had a seamless transition from one country to the other."
Departing from Bulgaria after participating in a multinational training exercise in support of Saber Guardian 17, the task force demonstrated the ability to mass a battalion size aviation element in the Eastern European theater. Establishing an AHB in Mihail Kogalniceanu enables U.S. aviation capabilities to integrate and synchronize with their NATO counterparts. This combined effort strengthens the professional relationships within the Alliance allowing follow-on units to deploy aviation assets to Romania.
Initiating the continuous rotation of Black Hawks to Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, the Fort Drum based task force is currently deployed throughout Eastern Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. European Command, U.S. Army Europe-led exercise that promotes regional stability and security, and enhances interoperability amongst participating NATO Allies and partners.
"When a U.S. Army aviation is present and committed to a region, it shows that the United States supports that country," said Truman. "With Army aviation assets on ground, it reassures our NATO Allies and partners that we're here and committed to deterring any potential aggression that region may face."
Capt. Jeffery Timmick, the commander of Bravo Company, 2-10 ABH, discussed the benefits of establishing a battalion size aviation element in Eastern Europe.
"We've been able to work with the Romanians and the Royal Air Force, so improving interoperability amongst each other," said Timmick. "It has been a great opportunity, and now that we have the entire battalion massing here we're looking forward to conducting more training with our Allies."
The task force commander's intent is to conduct deliberate aviation operations to strengthen collective capabilities with host and partner nations' Armed Forces while deterring potential aggression and protecting U.S. Forces, Allies and partners. Setting the stage for European theater operations through integrated and multinational aviation training while deployed in Europe.
"It has given us a great opportunity to work with people that we usually don't have the opportunity to work with in the states," said Truman. "As far as the local defense forces, it has been great to learn what procedures they use, we share tactics and techniques and generally increase our overall combined capabilities to secure the region."