Air Commandos with the 15th Special Operations Squadron and Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment conducted a five-day bilateral training in Kentucky and Tennessee, July 10-14.
The bilateral training provided advanced tactical training for the two units by building up the two forces' relationship and preparing them to work together in future missions.
"This training presented us the opportunity to get together with different entities and practice our skills," said Maj. Sean Armstrong, a navigator with the 15th SOS. "The goal of any exercise is to integrate with all the organizations we're working with and get everybody on the same page, talking and planning together to ultimately get the mission done."
The two 15th SOS aircrews would take off each day during the golden sunset laid upon Smyrna and showcase their capabilities with the 160th SOAR for hours on end, proving their readiness to execute any mission at any time, any place.
Those aircrews, while operating the MC-130H Combat Talon II, performed air-to-air refueling with MH-60 Blackhawk and MH-47 Chinook helicopters, conducted forward area refueling of 160th SOAR aircraft, and loaded and transported AH-6 and MH-6 Little Bird helicopters for infiltration and exfiltration missions.
"These exercises work on getting us prepared for operations we may do downrange," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Wolski, a loadmaster with the 15th SOS. "The Army, Navy and Marines don't generally use the same lingo, so coming to these exercise allows us to work together cohesively."
The week-long training concluded with a mission that ran from the evening until the break of dawn, testing the aircrews' ability to perform in low-visibility conditions only available during night operations.
The mission involved two MC-130H aircrews completing an infiltration and exfiltration mission of MH-6s as well as setting up a forward area refueling point to provide necessary fuel for AH-6, MH-6, MH-47 and MH-60 helicopters.
Hours later, when the Little Birds returned from their mission, an aircrew and soldiers quickly secured both Little Birds on the MC-130 and flew them to Saber Army Airfield to conclude the mission.
The week-long training exercise gave the two units a capabilities baseline to build on for future operations.
"The chances of us working with the 160th SOAR downrange is high," Armstrong said. "When the flag goes up, they know who to call, we'll get it done."